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Contemporary Asian arts projects get funding boost

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Six arts projects which will challenge New Zealanders’ perceptions of Asian cultures have been awarded grants by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The projects include a South Asian immersive extravaganza of singing, dancing and movie-making magic; a collaboration between New Zealand’s and China’s longest running contemporary dance companies; and a large-scale light installation from a Pakistani-American artist.

Each year the Foundation selects several arts projects to support which have the potential to significantly grow New Zealanders’ understanding of Asian art and culture.

"New Zealand can often be quite transactional in its view of Asia, but arts and culture are a way of understanding each other at a deeper level," says Foundation executive director Simon Draper.

"Watching a show, reading a book, listening to an album - they’re all ways for us to grow our confidence and awareness of the complexities of Asian cultures and how they compare to our own."

The chosen works also include four writers in conversation about Asian culture and issues at the Auckland Writers Festival, an Auckland Photography Festival exhibition featuring Japan’s famous deer of Nara and an East Meets West performance at Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival.

They offer a range of experiences, from critical conversations on culture to celebrations of traditional art forms, often blurring the two.

The projects are also diverse in their mediums and the cultures they draw from and give audiences across the country a chance to experience Asian arts.

"We want Asian art to be an everyday offering for New Zealanders engaging with art and performance - it shouldn’t be something exotic or different, it should be something we expect from our broader culture," Mr Draper says.

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