Two wonderful Bangarra dancers, Deborah Brown and Leonard Mickelo, performed a Stephen Page dance—Moth from the acclaimed production of Bush—at the awards, held at Crystal Palace in Sydney's Luna Park.
And a youthful quintet, the Sydney Symphony Fellows, played the delightful and whimsical The Laughing Moon by Ross Edwards.
Minister for the Arts, the Hon Tony Burke, presented the awards in 14 categories, which were MC’d by Lee Lin Chin.
Bangarra was the joint winner of the Dance award for its performance of Spirit in Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam. Co-winner was Annalouise Paul for Game On performed in India.
Sydney Symphony took out the Major Arts Organisation award for its Australia-China Cultural Exchange Program under which it works, for example, with China’s National Centre for the Performing Arts. It also has an MOU with the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou. It’s a three year partnership to strengthen connections between musicians from each city.
Minister Burke said the Australian Arts in Asia awards began as a thought bubble after visiting Red Gate Gallery, in Beijing which was founded in 1991 by Australian, Brian Wallace.
Mr Burke made particular mention of the ancient, enduring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, saying, ‘Artists are constantly reminding us that even though it is historical it doesn’t mean art won’t continue at the cutting edge.’
He said Australian art is on a journey—and Asia now is part of that journey.