52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS launching online at Artspace, 18 May

Kaylene Whiskey, Dolly’s Song, 2019, single channel digital video with sound, 1 min 56 sec, Courtesy the artist and Iwantja Arts

Artspace in Sydney is an independent, not-for-profit contemporary art space, established in 1983 with the vision to provide a place for artists to produce art through risk, experimentation and innovation across a multi-platform program for the development of new commissions, exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, public programs, publishing and advocacy, and is a leading institution supporting contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific.

The Artspace program has of course been disrupted by the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, but in light of this, the organisation has been working on another year-long delivery of the ‘52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS’ project. Originally posted on Instagram for the first time in 2018-19, ‘52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS’ was designed to engage artists across the Asia-Pacific region to produce politically minded art for online presentation.

Radha Labia making Jamu at Burn All The Books That Call You The Unknown curated by Fadescha. Photograph: Andrew Vincent. Courtesy the artist and Artspace, Sydney

Artspace’s website and Instagram channels will light up in festival mode from May 18 for ’52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS’ 2020-21 with a diverse program of live performances, photography, video, sound and text-based works, as well as interventions and digital public programs, with a focus on Australian artists and the importance of their creative practice in relation to society and culture and how it can be an active accomplice for change in uncertain times.

The first practitioners have been announced with visual artist James Tylor kicking off the event with his newly developed work, followed by artists Abdul Abdullah, Brook Andrew, Bankstown Poetry Slam, Archie Barry, Johnathon World Peace Bush (Jilamara Arts), Rainbow Chan, Erin Coates, Ruha Fifita, Henri Papin (Meijers & Walsh), Hayley Millar-Baker, Jason Phu, Stelarc, Tyza Stewart, Shahmen Suku (Radha) and Kaylene Whiskey. Tylor’s multi-disciplinary arts practice voices his ideas about Australia’s cultural and social histories and the ongoing effect it has on Australian identity. New artists will be announced as the weeks go by.

James Tylor, Australian Indigenous Raspberries, Instagram post for 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS, January 2019. Courtesy the artist and Artspace, Sydney

Artspace is supporting each artist with $1,000 for the creation of a new work and are rolling out the red carpet to showcase Australian artists on the global stage, in the digital realm. “Through this expansive new commissioning series, we are not only aiming to provide stimulus for Australian artists, but to offer insight into artistic practice here as we move through a period marked by uncertainty,” said Artspace’s Executive Director Alexie Glass-Kantor.

Follow Artspace and 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS on Instagram to watch the creativity unfold.