Carriageworks announces 2022 program highlights and significant building refurbishment

Marrugeku-Emmanuel-James-Brown-in-Jurrungu-Ngan-ga-2021-photo-by-Abby-MurrayCarriageworks have announced their first confirmed projects within a strong 2022 program to be presented across the Redfern-based multi-arts precinct, spanning dance, music, theatre and visual arts with a focus on First Nations and female-led programming.

The program includes new solo exhibitions by Karla Dickens, Mel O’Callaghan, Thea Anamara Perkins; a world premiere performance by interdisciplinary artist Kaz Therese and a focused program celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Black Theatre and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

During the first half of 2022, a significant program of repair, maintenance, and upgrade of the unique heritage Carriageworks building will be undertaken by Create Infrastructure and Public Works NSW.

Works will improve technology and sustainability of lighting systems, provisions for events, the replacement of theatre floors and general upgrade work to the fabric of the building, improving the Carriageworks experience for artists and audiences alike.

These important improvements to the site will see Carriageworks closed to the public from February through until 29 April 2022, with the exception of Carriageworks Farmers Markets which will continue to operate every Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to a bright 2022 and have curated a program to match, with a lineup focused on some of Australia’s best artists as we remain committed to supporting our local arts community in the creation of new work,” said Carriageworks CEO Blair French.

Important refurbishment works to our building will also enhance the experience of the Carriageworks precinct in 2022 for artists, performers, event partners and visitors as well as protect the unique heritage of the site into the future.”

“We thank the NSW Government for their generous investment into Carriageworks to refresh the heritage building and reinvigorate the space for artists and visitors moving forward,” said Mr French.

In January, Carriageworks continues as presenting partner of the Sydney Festival in 2022, with highlights including Cherine Fahd’s Ecdysis presented in partnership with Performance Space and Dean Cross’ Icarus, my Son presented in partnership with Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, both on display until 30 January.

Until 30 January, a new large-scale wall assemblage by acclaimed Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens is displayed in the Carriageworks public space. The installation reworks found postcards picturing First Nations people from the turn of last century and incorporates domestic detritus, from rusted corrugated iron to unhoused front fences and letter boxes.

From 27 – 29 January, resident company Marrugeku will present the world premiere of a contemporary dance performance. Titled Jurrungu Ngan-ga – meaning Straight Talk in Yawuru – Marrugeku’s powerful and provocative new work reflects on the disproportionate rates of Indigenous Australians in custody and first-hand descriptions of life inside Australia’s immigration detention centres.

Under the direction of recently appointed inaugural Director of First Nations Programs Jacob Boehme, Carriageworks will present a series of programs throughout the year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the National Black Theatre and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, including talks, performances and screenings to mark as well as a new First Nations Food Program.

From 26 February the off-site exhibition tour, Suspended Moment, will commence its eight-venue run at Wollongong Art Gallery. Produced by Carriageworks and Museums & Galleries of NSW and curated to tour by Director of Programs, Daniel Mudie Cunningham, the exhibition showcases formative works by Katthy Cavaliere (1972 – 2012) loaned from her estate, alongside newly commissioned works by three women artists Giselle Stanborough, Frances Barrett and Sally Rees, who were each awarded $100,000 from the Katthy Cavaliere Fellowship in 2019.

On 1 May Carriageworks will present Cut N Polish: Artist Car Boot Sale. Following two-years of professional disruption and the loss of exhibition and sales opportunities for local visual artists, Carriageworks works with an organising group of NSW artists to present a one-day art sale enabling over sixty artists to set up shop in Carriageworks’ Blacksmith’s Workshop.

From 23 June – 3 July, the biennial Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) returns for its fifth edition. Dedicated to the commissioning of new choreographic work and promoting innovative, experimental and cross-art form practice in contemporary dance, the KCA will be presented across two weeks at Carriageworks and Dancehouse (Melbourne).

For the first time in 2022, Carriageworks will present all eight works over a two-week season and host the closing Awards Night event which will be made available online and On Demand after the ceremony. The KCA is a partnership between Dancehouse, The Keir Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts.

A major visual arts exhibition will be presented from 24 June – 21 August by Australian-born, Paris-based artist Mel O’Callaghan titled All is Life. Charting the initial split of the first cell 4.5 billion years ago, this new installation will encompass sculpture, performance, sound and film, to explore the relationship between life and nonlife.

For one-night-only on 16 July, Ensemble Offspring celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the birth of legendary Greek-French composer and architect Iannis Xenakis with a new performance work titled Time as Revelator. The program observes the passage of time through music, featuring original works for an instrumental ensemble.

From 4 – 13 August, a new performance work by Australian artist Kaz Therese titled Sleeplessness fuses drama and documentary to throw light on the intergenerational impacts of institutionalisation and migration. Part-mystery, part-documentary, part forensic investigation, this quintessentially Australian story has been developed with support from Carriageworks and will be supplemented by roundtable discussions and workshops.

Resident company Sydney Chamber Opera will premiere a new work Awakening Shadow from 30 September – 8 October. The performance channels Benjamin Britten’s crisis of faith through the singing body. In a first Australian staging, Britten’s five Canticles are entwined with a new work by leading Australian composer Luke Styles.

Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist Thea Anamara Perkins will create a large-scale mural – and her largest work to date – covering the walls of Carriageworks’ Public Space, which will be unveiled in November.

Other major events and festivals will return to Carriageworks throughout the year, including Australian Fashion Week (9 – 13 May), Semi Permanent (25 – 27 May), Sydney Contemporary (8 – 11 September), Liveworks Festival (October) and SOUTHEAST Aboriginal Arts Market (November). For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Emmanuel James Brown in Jurrungu Ngan-ga, Marrugeku, 2021 – photo by Abby Murray