The Australian premiere of Akram Khan’s unique retelling of The Mahabharata, and Filipino contemporary dancer Eisa Jocson’s exploration of masculinity are two powerhouse performances to open the eleventh OzAsia Festival, which kicks off today and runs until 8 October at venues throughout the Adelaide Festival Centre, Elder Park, Nexus Arts, Mercury Cinema and many more throughout the city. 

Over 800 community and international artists will deliver this year’s festival, coming from locations including Japan, Singapore, China, India, Malaysia, Korea, The Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. The program features 6 world premieres, 19 Australian premieres, 35 events exclusive to Adelaide, more than 97 professional performances, over 100 community performances, 18 talk events, 21 film screenings, 6 exhibitions and 67 workshops.

OzAsia Artistic Director Joseph Mitchell says:
“The opening weekend of OzAsia Festival will bring the best of contemporary Asia to Adelaide across an array of theatre, dance, music, visual arts and film. Akram Khan is one of the world’s most important choreographers and Until the Lions, which kick starts this year’s festival and is exclusive to Adelaide, will be a rare opportunity to see one of his full length productions in Australia.

“Singapore Art Museum will also present their first major exhibition in Australia with After Utopia at Samstag Museum. This free exhibition features work from Singapore Art Museum’s permanent collection and is one of the largest collections of Southeast Asian art anywhere in the world.

“There is something for everyone across the opening weekend and the heart of the festival will be at the Lucky Dumpling Market on the Adelaide Convention Centre Lawns, where there will be delicious food options, free music, workshop activities and a stunning site design that captures the vibrant atmosphere of contemporary Asia for audiences here in Adelaide.”

His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, says:
“I am greatly honoured to have been Patron of OzAsia Festival, Australia’s flagship arts festival for engaging with Asia, since its inception 11 years ago.

As the OzAsia Festival embarks upon its second decade, it is with great pride that we acknowledge the festival’s outstanding contribution to artistic excellence and the celebration of cultural diversity in our State, as well as the unique experiences it offers to audiences from South Australia, interstate and overseas.

I encourage you to explore the 2017 program, which is filled with many wonderful performances including the Moon Lantern Festival, one of Australia’s most joyful and vibrant celebrations of Asian culture.”

Nexus Arts hosts the very first performance, Macho Dancer, featuring ballet-trained dancer Eisa Jocson (also well-known for her starring role in the 2016 Peaches film clip How You Like My Cut) performing a typically male-dominated nightclub dance, appropriated for a female and to an electrifying soundtrack. 21 & 22 September, Nexus Arts

The female perspective is further explored by world-renowned dancer and choreographer Akram Khan in award-winning work Until the Lions, who draws on his own experiences performing in Peter Brook’s iconic staging of The Mahabharata, when he was a child. Drawing together a Pan-Asian cast from Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines as well as four live musicians, Until the Lions retells a passage from the famous Indian text: princess Amba is abducted by the powerful warrior Bheeshma, rendered unmarriageable and in turn invokes the power of the Gods to seek revenge. 22 & 23 September, Dunstan Playhouse.

Re-examining the mother-child relationship, particularly when caring for aging parents, are Singapore’s Claire Wong and Noorlinah Mohamed in Recalling Mother, using humour, multilingual word play and family memories to undertake a heartfelt discussion of the challenges of modern Singaporean life. 22 & 23 September, Space Theatre

On the opening weekend, celebrations continue at Nexus Arts with an array of alternate, underground and boundary-pushing musical acts from both Asia and Adelaide, including Air Bandung. Featuring a lineup of four post-rock groups from both Adelaide and Bandung (West Java, Indonesia), at times mixed with funk, electronic and jazz beats, groups 1.1 Immermann, Trah, yeahyeahabsolutelynoway! and Under the Big Bright Yellow Sun will have audiences spellbound in no time. 23 September, Nexus Arts

The life, travels, military service and career of Australian painter Ian Fairweather is explored by composer Erik Griswold, author Rodney Hall, artist Glen Henderson, koto (traditional Japanese stringed instrument) performer Satsuki Odamura and Adelaide’s own Zephyr Quartet, in Fairweather. 23 September, Space Theatre

The brand-new Lucky Dumpling Market, created together with the team behind Adelaide Fringe’s Gluttony, is situated on the Adelaide Convention Centre lawns and will ensure that festivalgoers are kept nourished in between performances and events. With free entertainment from local and international bands, artists and DJs, and confirmed stallholders including Adelaide’s Teppanyaki Noodles, TMR Dumplings, Hoy Pinoy BBQ, Sookii La La South Asian Street Food, curries from Beyond India and injectable donuts from Saint Espresso, it is the ultimate spot for both a warming afternoon lunch and spicy late-night hangout. Bands performing include Australia’s Electric Fields, Malaysia’s Alena Murang, The Philippines’ Enrique De Dios, Indonesia’s Mocca and Singapore’s SA.

OzAsia Festival’s film component remains as popular as ever, with all films screened at the Mercury Cinema and beginning with Singapore Now, three films by contemporary Singaporean directors, including Kirsten Tan, whose film Pop Aye was also awarded Best Screenplay at Sundance 2017. A selection of award-winning films depicting modern day Asia comprises Across Asia, in addition to three additional titles by Women Directors in Asia. Fresh and New is an evening of next generation Hong Kong shorts screened alongside experimental student works from Flinders University, whilst Iranian Independents celebrates the important role of sales agent Mohammad Attebai in bringing the best new Iranian films to the world.

After Utopia: Revisiting the Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art is on view at the Samstag Museum of Art, curated by Singapore Art Museum’s Siuli Tan and Louis Ho, and presented in partnership with the Samstag Museum of Art and 2017 OzAsia Festival. Through installations, moving image, paintings and sculptures, the exhibition explores how our ideals mirror our innermost yearnings, and that gnawing sense that this world and its realities are not enough.

Also now on display are a selection of multimedia works showcasing the constantly changing contemporary Chinese landscape from China’s outstanding Chengdu Blue Roof Museum in Shifting Permanence; and Hong Kong’s Doris Wong Wai Yin’s seemingly everyday objects revealing much deeper meanings in A Place Never Been Seen Is Not A Place.

At the Migration Museum, mixed media images and stories by John Young, Brian Castro and Luke Harrald depict Macau Days, the oldest European settlement in Asia and home to its own remarkable culture and identity; and at the Art Gallery of South Australia, the extraordinary heritage of Buddhist art from across Asia, in particular when the Indian prince Siddhartha achieved enlightenment to become the Buddha, is the focus via sculpture, painting and ritual artefacts of Awakening: Art of Buddhism.

All exhibitions are free entry, and the full list of events and talks can be found in the OzAsia Festival brochure or online at ozasiafestival.com.au

2017 OzAsia Festival is supported by the Government of South Australia, Arts South Australia and Brand South Australia. 

Executive Festival Partner – The City of Adelaide

Festival Partners – The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
Confucius Institute at The University of Adelaide; Hong Kong Arts Development Council; Playking Foundation; ANZ; Adelaide Casino; Adelaide Airport; Wilson Parking; Toyota Australia; National Arts Council, Singapore; Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Singapore; Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia

Program Partners – Japan Foundation; Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy (BEKRAF); The Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia; the Open State festival; Hong Kong Economic Trade Office; Flinders University, Jembatan; Birdlife Australia; the Australia-Indonesia Institute, Australia-Korea Foundation and Australia-China Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Official Airline – Singapore Airlines
Supply Partner – Stamford Plaza Adelaide
Wine Partner - O’Leary Walker Wines
Media Partners – The Advertiser, SBS, iAge Media, CityMag, ABC Radio Adelaide
Program Supporters – The City of Bandung, West Java; CultureLink Singapore 

Media materials including high resolution images and biographies are available at Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/se4n20wuy6b4bsb/AAB19wuREBQnC5oPx6Hd_Cn6a?dl=0

For further information on OzAsia Festival and all interview requests please contact:

Primary Contact
Sophie Gardner – Publicity Executive (08) 8216 8796 / 0402 593 672 sophie.gardner@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au 

Secondary Contacts
Francesca Belperio – Publicity Executive (08) 8216 8699 / 0402 842 204 francesca.belperio@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au
Clare Axford – Publicity Coordinator (08) 8216 8507 / 0414 794 400 clare.axford@adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au