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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Guest Edit: Arts-Matter Curators Handpick Their Top Arts and Culture Events in Sydney to Round Out 2021

From a queer extravaganza bound for the Darlinghurst Theatre to iconic Japanese cinema, mark your calendar accordingly.
By Suz Tucker
October 29, 2021
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By Suz Tucker
October 29, 2021
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In The Guest Edit we hand the reins over to some of Sydney's most interesting, tasteful and (or) entertaining people. For this instalment, Susan Armstrong and Michelle Grey, the culture aficionados, experience curators and conversation enablers behind Arts-Matter. Trust them, they know what they're talking about.

SUSAN AND MICHELLE: After another seemingly never ending lockdown, and what felt like a cultural dearth for the second year running, we're ready to swap our sweat pants for party frocks and get out there and experience the physical world once again. While the pandemic has been tough for everyone, its legacy has left us with a tonne of artistic innovation and we're excited to reap the benefits.

Lucky for us, over the next couple of months there's a bevy of art exhibitions, performances and creative happenings going on across greater Sydney and regional NSW. Here's our list of the top things to help satiate your cultural appetite…

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Doug Aitken, Underwater Pavilions (installation) 2017. Image credit: Dan Boud

DOUG AITKEN, THE MCA

Plunge into the world of internationally recognised American artist Doug Aitken this summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Aitken's works lead us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts (a perfectly fitting post-pandemic theme). The exhibition incorporates objects, installations, photographs and vast, multi-screen environments that will envelop you within a kaleidoscope of moving imagery and sound. Using light, reflection and multiplication, Aitken is sure to mesmerise even the most jaded group of museum goers.

When: Until 6 February 2022
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, 140 George St, The Rocks
How: Buy tickets for $28 for adults, $22 concession, $12 for 13-18 years, free for kids 12 and under

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Sydney Dance Company

SYDNEY DANCE COMPANY'S NEW BREED, CARRIAGEWORKS

While we've all been moving and grooving in our athleisure outfits for four months running, it's time to get out and see how the professionals get down. Sydney Dance Company, in partnership with Carriageworks and The Balnaves Foundation, returns to the stage with the eighth edition of New Breed, continuing a collective commitment to emerging choreographers. Four talented choreographers will create new works featuring a rich diversity of choreographic ideas to be performed by Sydney Dance Company's company dancers.

When: 25 November until 11 December
Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
How: Buy tickets for $35-$45

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Tamara Dean

TAMARA DEAN, NGUNUNGGULA GALLERY

Now that we're allowed to travel beyond our local bodega, we highly recommend a countryside jaunt to the beautiful Southern Highlands. Newly opened Ngununggula (which means "belonging" in the traditional language of the Gundungurra First Nations people) is the Southern Highlands' first regional art gallery. The Gallery will open with two inaugural exhibitions by celebrated Australian artists Tamara Dean (with the terrifically titled show 'Hijinks in the Hydrangeas') and Megan Cope.

When: Until 17 December, 2021
Where: Ngununggula, 1 Art Gallery Lane, Bowral NSW
How: Free

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Abdullah M.I. Syed portrait, 2018

ABDULLAH M.I. SYED, PENRITH REGIONAL GALLERY

Pakistani-born Australian artist, Abdullah M.I. Syed, has undertaken a short residency to research the influence of the Bauhaus School on Australian Modernism, specifically through the artistic practice of Margo Lewers, who built the property that is now the Penrith Regional Gallery. Lewers' works will be on show alongside Syed's response that also draws on Islamic geometric design, the use of reflection and transparency, positive and negative space, as well the relationship between art and faith.

When: 25 October 2021 – 9 January 2022
Where: Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest, 86 River Road, Emu Plains, NSW
How: Free

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The Future Is Here, Dennis Golding

THE FUTURE IS HERE BY DENNIS GOLDING, CARRIAGEWORKS

After a year plus of fighting COVID 19, we're all in need of some superhero powers. Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding, along with a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, worked together on creating a collection of 100 brightly coloured capes. Students designed their capes with iconography informed by their lived experiences and cultural identity. The project continues Golding's exploration of using superhero symbolism to empower contemporary Aboriginal culture to free it from colonial narratives. As superheroes, Golding and his young collaborators are empowered and reminded of the strength of their culture in forming their identity and connection to Country.

When: 3-28 November 2021
Where: Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
How: Free

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GIANT BADGES BY ADAM NORTON, SYDNEY CBD

Take a stroll beyond your five kilometre radius and check out Sydney-based artist Adam Norton's Giant Badges come to life on Barrack Street, as part of the City of Sydney's temporary laneway art program. Influenced by apocalyptic sci-fi films, pop and counterculture, the badges have an immediate sense of nostalgia to them while speaking directly to today's most important social issues including the climate and public health emergencies - giving a nod to the notion that our current reality feels stranger than science fiction.

When: Until Thursday 31 March 2022
Where: Barrack St (between George and York Streets), Sydney
How: Free

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Image: Megan Bottari, Post-Modern Tokenism III 2007-2013 (detail) lost wax cast crystal.

YOU CAN'T SEE WHITE IF YOU DON'T SEE BLACK, WAGGA WAGGA ART GALLERY

Having just emerged from one of the darkest moments in many of our lives, we're all ready to see some light. Curated from the National Art Glass Collection, You can't see White, if you won't see Black seeks to comment on the coexistence and unity of opposites as well as duality in politics, spirituality and morality. Day, light, and good are often linked together, in opposition to night, darkness, and evil. These contrasting metaphors represented as White and Black go back in human history, and across cultures. This exhibition seeks to communicate spiritual purity and intensity of feeling - bringing together the oneness of the universe.

When: Until Sunday 27 November 2021
Where: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, corner of Baylis and Morrow Streets, Wagga Wagga NSW
How: Free

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Grass Labyrinth © 1979 Films Du Jeudi-Toel

JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL, PALACE CINEMAS

The Japanese Film Festival makes a grand return to the cinema for its 25th year with a national tour in Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Screening at the new venue of Palace Cinemas in each city, the 2021 Festival program will feature an expertly curated selection of films, from the hottest newly-released feature titles alongside action, anime, drama, documentaries and much more. We can't wait to see Junk Head and The Deer King, and don't miss the free tribute series of films by Shuji Terayama, one of Japan's most influential avant-garde film directors.

When: 25 November – 5 December 2021
Where: Palace Cinemas Nationally
How: Buy tickets starting from $16

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Sky Queenz

FLING FESTIVAL, DARLINGHURST THEATRE COMPANY

The beloved Darlinghurst Theatre is encouraging its patrons to break up with lockdown and join them for a no-strings-attached fling — and we couldn't support this more! The Fling Festival will transform Darlo into a vibrant cultural hub featuring one-off events and performances in the theatre's cabaret lounge and auditorium. Fling Festival is your go-to for all things cabaret, comedy, music, good vibes and more. Don't miss Sydney's favourite LGBTQIA+ performers bring cult cinema classics to the stage with a queer twist, or Sky Queenz, an immersive cabaret experience infusing drag, music, burlesque and comedy.

When: 28 October - 11 December 2021
Where: Darlinghurst Theatre, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst
How: Buy tickets at the Darlinghurst Theatre website

Published on October 29, 2021 by Suz Tucker

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