Throughout October, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A) will present Art in the Heart of Haymarket, a contemporary and dynamic festival in Sydney’s South CBD precinct. A prominent cultural institution in Haymarket for over 25 years, 4A is a hub for Australian Asian artists and communities. Art in the Heart of Haymarket promises to surprise and delight audiences with extraordinary contemporary art installations and performances.
Haymarket will come alive with performance, music, dance, visual arts and unique experiences with live art window installations by performance artist Rakini Devi, interactive tea ceremony installation performer Jingwei Bu, Filipino street food speed dating with Rosell Flately, music by Shoeb Ahmed, and live performances/food presentations by Shahmen Suku.
Amrit Gill, artistic director and CEO of 4A, said, “After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, Haymarket is ready to come alive again for visitors. Art in the Heart of Haymarket presents dynamic contemporary art experiences by Asian Australian artists that will attract visitors back to the precinct to enjoy the best Sydney has to offer in food, culture and retail. 4A is excited to be working with local partners and communities to revitalise Haymarket as we rebuild post-COVID and rediscover what makes our CBDs so great.”
Korean comic artist Meg O’Shea will kick off the 4A Kids program, leading school holiday workshops focusing on the creation of autobiographical DIY comics. (Thursday 6 October and Friday 7 October, suitable for 13–16-year-olds.)
The following weekend will see 4A host its first Dance Battle with Destructive Steps Dance Association (DSDA). The Dance Battle will showcase Bboy/bgirl (breaking), popping and other street dance styles. Contestants will battle it out in a two-versus-two open battle vying for cash prizes before a live audience on Friday 14 October from 5-9pm at the Darling Harbour Pier Street Underpass. This is a not-to-be-missed free event. Dancer’s Lane near Haymarket is home to vibrant street dance communities, and the 4A Dance Battle will create a platform for emerging dancers to showcase their craft to residents and visitors in the precinct.
Coinciding with the opening of the highly anticipated exhibition Bollywouldn’t, by critically acclaimed Goan-Australian Artist TextaQueen, 4A will present a jam-packed weekend full of free events across three days in 4A’s Haymarket gallery. The experience spans LGBTQIA+ and South Asian diasporic performance, music, poetry, installations, workshops and food as artists bring the exhibition to life for audiences. Music and performances on Saturday 22 October and Sunday 23 October are free.
Art in the Heart of Haymarket will wrap up with a 24-hour program — 4A/24 — from 11am Saturday 29 October to 6pm Sunday 30 October across two locations: 4A and its next door neighbours, the Museum of Chinese in Australia (MOCA). 4A and MOCA will come alive with over 50 artists performing throughout and outside the venues, from surreal old library rooms animated with intimate bespoke one-on-one performances, installations, a tea ceremony, tarot card and I Ching readings and street food speed dates. Saturday features two of the East Coast’s hottest underground collectives, Kerfew (daytime) and the Champions of Funk, Freedom Sessions, (nighttime) and dance performances ranging from Destructive Steps Street dance to Indian classical dance icon Anandavalli live and on film. Return on Sunday morning for a ritual of your choice, yoga, meditation or yum cha. In the afternoon, there are more intimate bespoke one-on-one performances, film screenings and to wrap up the weekend, the hottest Australian Asian muso’s, Marcus Whale, Morgana Osaki and Rainbow Chan. On both days, an extraordinary solo theatre piece of Pratha Nagpal. My Mother’s Kitchen, will be featured unpacking the intergenerational lived experiences of immigrant mothers and their children. A truly unique experience! FREE *licensed venue, children must be accompanied by an adult.
A Queer Tour of Haymarket will take place on Saturday 29 October ($25). This one-hour guided walking tour encourages audiences to reimagine the precinct’s architecture, history and social life through queer performance activations including dance, poetry and live art to celebrate queer Asian Australian communities. The tour builds upon the legacy of queer Asian activists in Sydney and Australia who sought to claim space within Mardi Gras, queer spaces and grassroot organisations.
Art in the Heart of Haymarket is proudly funded by the NSW Government through the CBDs Revitalisation Program and the City of Sydney through the Precinct Activation Grant Program.
NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues said, “The Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner is committed to revitalising our key urban centres. This investment is helping business collaboration to encourage audience reconnection in urban environments, and in the process accelerating economic recovery. With a wonderfully diverse program of arts, culture and experiences, Art in the Heart of Haymarket is sure to get people off the couch and enjoying the city.”
For more information on the festival, visit 4a.com.au/ahoh.