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Mapping Melbourne 2014: Contemporary Asian arts in Melbourne

Allan Tanoemarga

Fri Nov 21 2014


IMMERSE yourself in a wide array of vibrant, contemporary Asian arts at the upcoming Mapping Melbourne festival. Allan Tanoemarga is here to fill you in with the details.


The stage is set for Mapping Melbourne to return for another year of Asian arts this December. Between December 3 – 6, Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) will present an engaging series of independent contemporary Asian arts to commemorate Asia’s positive influence on the richness of Melbourne’s culture.

With more than 40 local and international artists, this four-day festival features a wide range of dynamic events held in various Melbourne’s establishments. These events include arts display, theatre, live music, spoken word, dance and film.

The central themes for all these events are “transformation of identity”, “engagement with the city” and “adaptability of culture in today’s world”.

Mapping Melbourne – which was first launched last year – originated from MAV’s profound engagement with arts practice in both Asia and Australia. This engagement culminates in a festival, one that showcases the rich Australian-Asian arts culture in Melbourne.

For the independent artists of Mapping Melbourne, the festival is a unique platform for them to express their creative discourse on identity and diversity, while strengthening the network between each of them.

On the other hand, festival attendees will reap benefits from being able to learn, understand and respect different cultures in creative and expressive ways.

Image supplied.

In Between Sounds, one of the highlights of the 2014 Darwin Festival, will be performing at Mapping Melbourne. Image supplied.

The festival officially kicks off on the evening of December 3 at Shebeen. At 8.00 pm, In Between Sounds – a duo of Filipino-Dutch-Australian producer/songwriter James Mangohig and Chinese-Australian MC/spoken word artist Joelistics – will blend songs and stories of their mixed race heritage into a unique performance. The duo is fresh from a sold out premiere performance at the 2014 Darwin Festival.

On the following night at Ding Dong Lounge, attendees can experience the allure of psychedelic rock and jungle beats brought by Cambodian Space Project (CSP) through their one-night musical and theatrical performance, Rom Ding Dong. CSP will be supported by Siem Reap Lady Boy, who will showcase their sublime miming, as well as Empat Lima, who will mix sounds from Japanese epics and Indonesian pop.

Festivities continue on December 5 with Traces of Transformation which is back for its second year to display creative and spontaneous performances by 19 artists on the theme of transformation. The event will be showcased at the State Library of Victoria’s forecourt from 5.00pm – 8.00pm.

On the final day, Library at the Docks will be the host to Common Ground, an event where poets explore the role of faith and identity in everyday’s life through spoken word performance.

In addition to these daily events, Mapping Melbourne 2014 will also feature several never-before-seen exhibitions in Australia.

One of these intriguing exhibitions is called Paper Culture, which will showcase enchanting works by paper cutting master Zhou Yunhua and his son Zhou Bing, in collaboration with Melbourne artist Philip Faulks. Held at Space@Collins from December 3, the exhibition will be accompanied by a symposium and workshops, which allow attendees to learn more about the culture and art of paper cutting.

Mapping Melbourne will be officially closed with Mangetsu Night, starting from 6.00pm on December 6. The event will offer attendees an impressive display of food, art, music, and many other performances. Those with a specific taste for delicacies will also get to experience the delicious organic Japanese Izakaya style menu (vegan and vegetarian-friendly) with FREE dumplings and massages on offer from 6.00 – 7.00pm.

As a unique opportunity to learn more about cultural diversity in a fun and creative way, Mapping Melbourne 2014 is an event not to be missed! For more information on what Mapping Melbourne has to offer this year, head to Multicultural Arts Victoria’s official event page.