The 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and Korea also marks the 20th anniversary of the Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) and the Korea-Australia Foundation (KAF). What better way to celebrate than by expanding and strengthening the links that bring us together?
The Australia-Korea Year of Friendship 2011 is a great reason for Australian friends of Korea and Korean friends of Australia to celebrate. For the AKF, such an opportunity to expand and strengthen the links between the two nations is our core business – we support high-profile public and cultural events and projects that can help foster positive perceptions of contemporary Australia in Korea and of Korea in Australia.
Celebrations started with a bang at the beginning of 2011 with the official launch of the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship in Seoul, Korea, hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Korea. Around 2000 people attended the event, including members of the AKF Board and high-profile Korean government officials and celebrities. Korean actors Park Keun-hyong and Kong Hyo-jin were officially appointed as Australian Goodwill Ambassadors. Guests were kept entertained by performances from artists flown in from Australia, including the Consonant Ensemble, a group of four female Korean-Australian musicians. Other highlights included a performance by Circus Oz, a contemporary circus with a distinct Australian style and humour. The event received positive coverage from the local Korean media.
Perth Theatre Company Weeping Spoon Productions features Tim Watts in The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer. The show is currently touring in Korea.
Over the remainder of 2011, the AKF has a number of exciting projects planned that will help broaden both the understanding and appreciation of the many facets of Korean and Australian contemporary and historical cultures. Already, in February, AKF helped fund X Field Exhibition’s tour of Seoul, Korea. The exhibition was a collaborative group-work involving an artistic discourse among Australian and Korean practitioners in a variety of media and disciplines, including art, architecture, landscape, architecture and urbanism.
One of the most exciting projects in Korea this year, Saltbush, is a theatre work which celebrates Australian aboriginal stories, landscapes and identity, providing an opportunity for Australian aboriginal artists to reach out directly to the young people of Korea, to tell their story and to help create deeper cultural understanding.
Circus Oz, which performed at the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship launch, will be touring Korea from 7th November to 4th December. The dates are yet to be confirmed, but the venues are expected to be the Gyeonggi, Ansan and Goyang arts centres. Still on the topic of contemporary circus, the Australian Physical Theatre and Circus, after performing at the Chuncheon Mime Festival on 22-29 May, has potential follow-on engagements – this is a style of kinetic performance that is quite new, even in Korea’s contemporary arts scene.
Also suitable for families, the award-winning “one-man micro-epic puppet show”, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, will be touring Korea this year. It is a lovingly crafted experience, involving the unique blend of mime, puppetry, live and recorded music, as well as animation, which will explore the frontier of the deep blue ocean.
“For the AKF, this is our core business – supporting highprofile public and cultural events and projects that can help foster positive perceptions of contemporary Australia in Korea and of Korea in Australia”
Tell Me Tell Me: Australian and Korean Art 1976–2011 is a major new exhibition of Korean and Australian contemporary art. It came about as a result of collaboration between the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, and represents further evidence of the growing links between the artistic communities of the two countries. The exhibition will be presented at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney from June 17 to August 24, before travelling to Seoul to be displayed at the Deoksugung Art Museum in late September. The exhibition will highlight the historical and ongoing connections between Australian and Korean art.
The AKF will also be involved in raising the profile of Korean culture in Australia. An ambitious exhibition titled Shining Treasures: Korean metal craft, to be held at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney in the latter part of the year (dates yet to be confirmed), will explore traditional Korean culture, aesthetics and designs, including under the influences of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. This is a great opportunity for the Australian public to see rare historical artefacts, such as the Silla gold crown from the 7th Century, on loan from the National Museum of Korea. The historical artefacts will be shown alongside Korea’s most accomplished contemporary design in metalwork and technology. The exhibition will also make full use of the latest technology, such as 3D holographic objects and interactive programs to engage visitors. The Korean community of NSW will be mobilised in support of the event. They are planning a series of traditional cultural programs to complement the exhibition. Visitors will be able to enjoy Korean food festivals, traditional dances, tea ceremonies and taekwondo demonstrations.
These are just some of the many exciting activities planned for the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship 2011. Through the range of activities being planned by the governments of both Australia and Korea, in cooperation with our respective communities to raise public awareness of each other and the importance of our bilateral relationship, AKF hopes to provide an even firmer basis from which to take forward the Australia-Korea partnership into the future. A calendar of confirmed.
Year of Friendship events in Korea can be found at: http://australiakorea50.com.