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Welcome BLAK!!!

Let me kick down the door of Y2K6 with a dash of cynicism, a pinch of tongue in cheek, a smidge of whatever MAAN, and throw down the gauntlet of change.

As we look toward Blakfullas Survival day, known to the rest of the Country as - Australia Day - take a moment to think through where Australia’s artistic and cultural identity is headed.

I mean while folks talk till they are red, white and blue about innovation, a large majority remain affixed on this idealised notion of the Anglo-motherland. Not only that, but in reality any true innovation to come out of this country is either relegated to the fringes or forced to relocate elsewhere in the world, because for as long as I can recall, Australian innovation is stifled.

Stifled by those oxy-morons who sold this country’s soul in free trade agreements and offshore privatisation or, within an arts context, continue to regurgitate far flung Western traditions and over fund irrelevant all consuming flagship entities. Such a square peg, round hole moment there don’t ya think?

See I would’ve thought [[[[hoped]]]] we had outgrown this burning desire to re-work European classics then send them off on their merry way to tour their countries of origin or nearest neighbours. The ol’ Swan Lake fiasco surely was enough cygnet egg on the collective face of a nation who put that forth to the international arena as our best of the best.

Really people, it’s like touring an Australian rendition of the Haka BACK to New Zealand. Not cool on any ones horizon, so why do it in the first place?

NOT only that, but SWAN LAKE version 5,0000,000,01 aggaaaaiiin? Its like a never ending B-grade sequel. Groundhog day for bird watchers. The bird flu of the “high-Anglo-arts community” - Enough already!!

Add to that, how many company programs were launched declaring Australian adaptations of Chekhov-Homer-Shakespeare?????? All the while artist support organisations are struggling to be all things to all people with an arts passion, never losing hope that one day Australia will “get it” and direct resources to where they are needed the most.

And don’t get me started on this excessively crass 250th Birthday celebration of Mozart. I just picked up the newspaper promoting a 250year wankfest and I shake my head in wonderment, asking myself WHY WHY do the arts with such a minority appeal continue to suck dry resources and publicity. No more “safe bets” Australia. Get a life.

WHY WHY aren’t we finding, funding and promoting relevant icons? I know the colony isn’t 250years old yet, but perhaps we could celebrate an icon with a pulse, or for that matter, instil the confidence in our brightest talent so that they can be celebrated without having to bugger off overseas to get a show of love.

With all this adaptation, revisitation, re-mastering you would be easily fooled into thinking that Australia doesn’t actually have any stories to tell. But we are laden with such a rich tapestry of arts inspiration and yarns chomping at the bit to be told. Told from the true face of present-day Australia, the contemporary, the Indigenous, the working class, the multi-cultural, the environmental, the regional. It’s ALL here, for as far as the sky is blue and the eye can see.

What type of backward thinking regressive culturati are we to NOT see it, NOT fund it, NOT support it, NOT prioritise it?

So here’s a thought, why don’t we innovate and create our OWN masterpieces so that in 250years from now they can be re-worked, re-mastered, adapted and bastardised by some wide eyed traditionalist hooked on Aussie classics? G’wan, I dare ya!

I do believe the tsunami of change will come crashing upon us as the old leadership washes out with the tide, enabling the new generation of leaders to start steering this Island continent away from the looming cultural disaster we presently face. We, the young leaders, are a little less inclined to maintain the sheep mentality of those standing in out pathway, cause we can see the results thus far, and its nothing to crow about. Our destiny lies in trailblazing because we do “get it” and we do know that our collective Australian stories are phenomenal ones that can command a world stage.

Start listening.


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