Metro Arts launches ground-breaking 2016 program

Metro Arts Exquisite photo by Barbara LowingQueensland’s champion of contemporary arts, Metro Arts, will bolster its reputation for pushing boundaries in 2016 with an innovative and ambitious program of contemporary micro festivals, exhibitions and performance.

Unveiled last night, Metro Arts’ 2016 program entitled Risky Business – includes three multi-arts festivals, four performance seasons and nine exhibitions which explore topics ranging from death and loss to love, sexuality, politics, new music scenes and contemporary culture.

Program highlights include DeathFest – a micro festival of arts and culture celebrating life and death and approaches to understanding grief and mortality. The three-day festival will feature the world premiere of renowned performance-maker Fran Barbe’s contemporary dance work Exquisite – which explores the processes of love and loss, and has been in development with Metro Arts since 2013.

“We all want to live well, and die well, so let’s talk about that second part!” says DeathFest Curator and Metro Arts Executive Producer, Jo Thomas. “DeathFest is a chance through arts and culture to explore a range of issues including green deaths, creating a death plan, your digital legacy after death, and collective-mourning.”

Curated by sound artist Luke Jaaniste, micro-festival Sonic State will delve into Queensland’s new exploratory music scenes, and the artists behind them. Unique to Queensland, they include: noise art, installation and immersive music, contemporary classical and ambient electronica. Lawrence English, one of Australia’s key media artists will be leading ambient electronica, in his only confirmed Brisbane performance for 2016.

Exhibitions include the politically charged, feminist exhibition, Still I Rise by Hannah Brontë, a music video that imagines what Australia would look like in the future with an Indigenous, female Prime Minister who addresses the people through fierce rap.

Performance seasons include Vis & Ramin – the classic Persian tale of forbidden love, which has been revitalised with stunning multi-media for a dynamic contemporary performance experience, and is co-presented by Baran and Metro Arts.

Reinforcing its commitment to the development of contemporary arts, in 2016, Metro Arts welcomes full-year artist in residence, Courtney Coombs, a Brisbane-based artist who will use her residency to create The Unlearning Curve – an exhibition about the unlearning of prior knowledge in November 2016. Courtney uses personal vulnerability, collaboration and intimacy as engagement strategies to explore the value and position of art and human connection.

In 2016, Metro Arts will also support four performance works in residence, including One Way – a new dance-theatre work combining contemporary dance with hip hop performance, exploring work versus life balance by Brisbane’s Sammie Williams.

And if that’s not enough, Metro Arts will support the development of five new works including Fields of Decay created by Brisbane-based artist Leah Shelton and USA artist Sophia Remolde, exploring and digitally visualising the energy fields of damaged and decaying environmental sites.

Metro Arts’ CEO David Fenton said he was both excited and proud of the 2016 program. “Metro Arts remains deeply committed to the development and presentation of contemporary arts in this country,” said Mr Fenton.

“The 2016 program will feature more than 200 artists from across the country. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with and support so many artists in this ambitious and diverse program for 2016 and I’m sure audiences are going to love what they see and experience.

“The development of future contemporary arts practice is critical to ensure the sustainability of the small to medium arts sector and, in an exciting first, in 2016, we are very pleased to be able to announce that artists engaging in the artistic program will not be charged any fees for the use of our venues.”

For more information, and complete program, visit: www.metroarts.com.au for details.

Image: Exquisite – photo by Barbara Lowing

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