Underbelly Arts Festival 2017 reveals highlights

Prue Stent and Honey Long
Prue Stent and Honey Long, Membrane.

Underbelly Arts Festival 2017 has announced the artistic highlights for its 10th anniversary program being presented for the first time at the National Art School in Darlinghurst from 7-8 October.

Showcasing 21 ambitious new projects, the Festival will host 116 artists from around Australia for a two-week Lab period onsite at the National Art School from 25 September until 6 October as they develop their works for the Festival. Public tours will be offered at 6 p.m. each evening during the Lab, allowing ticket holders the rare opportunity to see artists develop new work.

Festival Director Roslyn Helper has revealed five highlights, providing an insight into what to expect: “Our 2017 program highlights include an immersive dance performed in an enveloping pink membrane, a six-hour durational feminist performance work inspired by the internet, a waterfront seagull apocalypse that signifies the impending rising of the seas, a merch stand offering purchasable art collectables by Underbelly artist, and a public complaints service, where peoples’ complaints will be interpreted and performed by an orchestral ensemble.”

Underbelly Arts Festival celebrates experimental contemporary art and spans a diverse range of mediums including installation, performance, dance, sound, visual art, intervention, digital art, radical opera, activist and participatory practices.

The major dance highlight that Helper mentioned will be Bundjulung and Ngapuhi woman Amrita Hepi working with creative duo and multidisciplinary artists Prue Stent and Honey Long. Hepi is a dancer, dance maker, writer and activist whose work and practice sits in the nexus between pop culture and contemporary dance. With Stent and Long, she will present gentle, protective and expansive work.

Hepi’s piece involves a soft, membranous structure, which will protect and hold the audience in an embrace. Hepi will invite viewers to enter the space of the dance and mingle with the dancers to discover the contradictions inherent in our ideas of utopia.

For further information, visit www.underbellyarts.com.au.

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