Underbelly Arts is in its tenth year, and what better way to celebrate than with a new festival director, 21 brand spanking new commissioned artist projects and a new home at the National Art School?
If you're a first-timer, this is how it works. First up: the Arts Lab. Artists spend a two-week residency working on what will become their exhibited festival work(s). You can visit the Lab for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their progress (6pm tours will run Tuesdays to Thursdays from September 25 – October 6). The lab fosters collaboration between the artists and simultaneously opens up the artistic process to the public. Next is the festival (October 7 – 8), where all is revealed — and you get to spend blissful hours wandering around incredible contemporary, experimental art and having the occasional snack.
So what's in store this year? A lot. Festival director Roslyn Helper is using a music festival format to curate projects bursting with creativity and ambition, embracing everything from installation, dance, visual art, radical opera, dance, sound, internet art, activist and interactive theatre. The vibe is all about creating an immediate, impactful connection between artists and their audience.
Apparently, the majority of this year's artists are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. "The artists are squeezing the stories of their multi-geographical, multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-historical, multi-gendered upbringings," says Helper. "I am honoured and excited to share them with you at Underbelly Arts 2017."
Tickets are now on sale, with general admission getting you access to both the festival and all Lab events.
UNDERBELLY ARTS 2017 DATES:
Arts Lab — September 25 – October 6
Opening night party — October 6
Festival — October 7–8
Images: Tom Jones, Gabriel Clark, Christine Francis.