Neither the future of Australia’s Indigenous peoples nor the environment yet figure in the election campaign. In this E-dition reviews of political visual arts exhibitions and documentary filmmaking (image above from Kelrick Martin’s Prison Songs) keep us mindful of this, but art is busy now protecting itself too from government.
Today, 12.45-3.00pm, the streaming of an Artspeak National Arts Election Debate between Labor Shadow Arts Minister Mark Dreyfus, the Greens’ Adam Bandt and Government Arts Minister Senator Mitch Fifield effectively marks the beginning of the public campaign to rectify the appalling damage done to the arts by the Australian Government. The Greens and Labor have announced their arts policies, reinstating all or a large part of funds removed from the Australia Council, abolishing the Catalyst program and offering additional funds. There will be a return to a highly productive status quo if the government loses the election or has an unlikely change of heart.
Artists and organisations large and small are uniting to change the Government’s mind, if not its heart. The Confederation of Australian State Theatre Companies (CAST) and Live Performance Australia (if pro a “reformed and transparent Catalyst”) have welcomed the Labor and Greens policies, especially for their support of the embattled small to medium arts sector.
Watch the National Arts Election Debate (streamed here) and ready yourself for the 17 June Arts Action Day, which you’ll being hearing about very soon. With an unprecedentedly united arts industry and sense of community, we might effect change, but need to add to our own the voices of our audiences.
RealTime issue #133 June-July 2016 pg.
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