Porter Street Commission

Kaspar Schmidt Mumm has been awarded the 2023 Porter Street Commission, with the Adelaide multi-disciplinary artist planning to create a new work in the form of a large-scale puppet head that encourages audience interaction.

The commission, now in its third year, awards $20,000 to a South Australian artist to create an ambitious new work to be presented in a solo exhibition at Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE).

Schmidt Mumm –  who was born in Germany, raised in Adelaide, and has Colombian, Pakistani and Canadian heritage – says his art-making stems from his experience of displacement. He describes his proposed new work – which will combine puppetry, papier-mâché, woodwork, upholstery, singing, improvisation and social theatre – as his most ambitious yet.

The Porter Street Commission selection panel congratulated him on his “joyful proposal”, adding: “We were especially taken by Kaspar’s absurdist, comical approach to art making, widely drawing connections to the art of puppetry, human rituals and the online world of Tik Tok. Centered around participatory sculpture, Kaspar’s new work provides a distinct and exciting opportunity to bring live art programming into the ACE gallery.”

Schmidt Mumm’s work is currently on show in a SALA exhibition titled Parcel, at SODA Objects in Croydon, for which he has created a range of original furniture pieces from recycled paper.

Illuminating Adelaide

This year’s Illuminate Adelaide festival sold 260,000 tickets across 29 ticketed events and attracted more than 1.2 million attendances, according to results released today.

By far the most popular ticketed event of the festival – which ended last Sunday – was the Light Cycles experience in Adelaide Botanic Garden, attended by more than 123,000 people over its extended season. Adelaide Zoo’s Light Creatures drew more than 52,000 people, while some 40,000 attended the art-meets-technology digital light show Wisdom of AI Light in a purpose-build pavilion on Rundle Road.

The month-long festival included City Lights, a popular program of free outdoor projections and installations across the city (estimated to have attracted 714,000 attendances), and music performances headlined by the Gorillaz with a sold-out show at the Entertainment Centre.

After last year’s inaugural Illuminate Adelaide program was curtailed by COVID and bad weather, co-founders and creative directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who descended on the city for the 2022 program. They promised the festival ­– supported through the SA Tourism Commission and the Federal Government’s RISE fund – will return, “bigger and brighter”, in 2023.

Tarnanthi on tour

A film still featuring Kaylene Whiskey in Iwantja Young Women’s Film Project, Kungka Kuṉpu, 2019. © the artists and Iwantja Arts

Major contemporary works by more than 60 women artists from the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands will be showcased in a national touring exhibition presented by the Art Gallery of SA’s Tarnanthi program.

Titled Kungka Kuṉpu (Strong Women), the exhibition will include works in a range of media, from the Tjanpi Desert Weavers’ large-scale sculptural installations made from tjanpi (grasses) and found objects, to works by young Aṉangu artists such as a cross-generational film combining live action and animation.

“We want our film project to show a strong, positive message about life in a remote Indigenous community,” artist Kaylene Whiskey says of the latter. “Us young women here in Indulkana love to dance and have fun and make each other laugh. We’re proud to live on our land and hold on to our culture and our language.”

Kungka Kuṉpu (Strong Women) will travel to five galleries across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria from October 22 until mid-June 2023. Other artists featured include Angkuna Baker, Kunmanara (Wawiriya) Burton, Nyunmiti Burton, Nyurpaya Kaika-Burton, Sylvia Ken, Kunmanara (Militjari) Pumani, Rhoda Tjitayi, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Kaylene Whiskey and Yaritji Tingila Young.

AGSA director Rhana Devenport says it highlights the APY art movement as a vital source of contemporary art production and also gives audiences outside South Australia an opportunity to experience the Tarnanthi program.

It’s Rubies time

Nominations have opened for the 2022 Ruby Awards recognising excellence across South Australia’s arts and culture sector.

The six categories for artistic works and events presented in SA between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022 are: Outstanding Community Event or Project; Outstanding Regional Event or Project; Outstanding Work, Event or Project for Young People; Outstanding Work or Event Within a Festival; Outstanding Work or Event Outside a Festival, and Outstanding Collaboration.

There is no longer a “best festival” category, while the “best community or regional event or project” has now been split into two separate awards.

Five categories recognise contributions by individuals or organisations, including the Frank Ford Memorial – Young Achiever Award and the Stevie Gadlabarti Goldsmith Memorial Award (open to SA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-focused organisations/groups or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals).

Last year’s Ruby Award winners included State Theatre Company of SA and ActNow Theatre’s iso-inspired collaboration Decameron 2.0, Gravity & Other Myths’ acrobatic and choral spectacular The Pulse and Access2Aarts Heart Beat Club.

Nominations for the 2022 awards close at 5pm on September 12, with further information available here.

Sound Minds

A panel discussion event exploring mental health and wellbeing for those who work within the music sector in South Australia will be held at Lion Arts Factory on August 31.

The free event ­– Sound Minds: Mental Health in Music & How to Give & Get Help ­– is part of music industry charity Support Act’s On My Mind series. It will see an industry panel and members of Support Act’s mental health team speak about “managing life” while working in music, and include tips and tools to support those experiencing mental health issues. You can register here.

Sound Minds is being presented as part of a collaboration between Support Act and Music SA that will see a range of mental health support services and wellbeing programs offered for those in the contemporary music sector over the next 12 months following a $250,000 grant from the State Government.

Our Mob, Our Words

Our Words 2021 at Adelaide Festival Centre. Photo: Ben Searcy

Adelaide Festival Centre’s annual Our Mob exhibition opens today, with work by a range of First Nations artists available to view – and purchase – in the Festival Theatre foyer galleries.

At the 2022 Our Mob awards ceremony last night, Adnyamathanha, Narungga and Yarluyandi artist Temaana Sanderson-Bromley was announced the winner of the $5000 Don Dunstan Foundation Our Mob Emerging Artist Prize. At 18, he is the youngest ever recipient of the prize, with his winning collection of artworks all inspired by his Country in the Flinders Ranges.

Other prizes awarded were the Trevor Nickolls Art Prize for Our Mob (won by Kat Bell), Trevor Nickolls Art Prize for Our Young Mob (Macinta Fowler), the Country Arts SA Professional Development Initiative Award (Sherrie Jones), and the Ku Arts Our Young Mob award (Zachary O’Donnell).

The 2022 exhibition program, which runs until October 7, includes Our Young Mob (featuring work by artists aged 18 and under, on show in the Children’s Artspace) and solo exhibitions by Kokotha artist Maude Parker (winner of the 2021 Trevor Nickolls Our Mob Award) and Narungga artist Jay Milera (winner of the 2021 Don Dunstan Emerging Artist prize).

First Nations storytelling will be the focus of Our Stories, an event for children in the Space Theatre on September 3.

Our Words ­– in the Quartet Bar, also on September 3 ­– has been curated by artist, poet and curator Dominic Guerrera and will see a range of panellists discussing themes such as “decolonising institutions, domestic labour and Aboriginal narratives”.

“My vision for this festival is to hear from Aboriginal writers about broader topics and stories rather than just their current release or work,” says Guerrera. “As Aboriginal writers, we are often boxed into rigid conversations or representations. I want Our Words 2022 to be a liberating experience, where our guest writers are able to shake off convention and just speak their minds, something I hope audiences will respond to positively.”

Register here to attend Our Words.

Green Room is a regular column for InReview, providing quick news for people interested, or involved, in South Australian arts and culture.

Get in touch by emailing us at editorial@solsticemedia.com.au

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