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Asian culture is firmly entrenched in Australia, particularly in business, education and food industries. And yet Asian art is yet to have much of an impact in our country.
Joseph Mitchell, Director of OzAsia Festival, Australia’s largest Asian culture event, says we lack diversity in this area and suggests that perhaps unknown prejudices see us favour European and American art.
Europe and America have been our biggest influences in the last two centuries, but the Asian century is now upon us and understanding and appreciating art from the region could help us unlock the benefits.
Joseph says art teaches us cultural lessons and breaks down important barriers that will help us foster the key relationships that will drive Australia’s economic growth through Asian countries such as Indonesia, China, India and beyond.
OzAsia Festival, on it’s tenth anniversary, is big and ambitious. It features a host of world class acts across dance, theatre, film, visual arts and numerous free public events, including a nightly food market. It takes a detailed plan and a large, collaborative team to pull it off. Joseph is acutely aware of the fact that many festivals fail, and interestingly breaks down the risk profile for OzAsia and festivals in general.
Personally, Joseph’s pathway to art was unusual. He was an Olympic swimmer as a teenager, completed three university degrees and expected to pursue journalism before being struck by art.
The OzAsia Festival is on in Adelaide from 17 September to October 2 2016. For more information visit the OzAsia website.
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