So this year’s Melbourne International Arts Fest program has been launched, and if it’s aaaaaaall white!
Seriously, what the fest? 2009’s program is almost entirely sourced from Anglo Europe, North America and Australia.
The only exceptions I can find are Festival regulars The Black Arm Band (now with Added Jimmy Barnes!); a Japanese multimedia artist collaborating on the three poetry nights at the Planetarium; a Brazilian art movement retrospective; an art installation from six African-born artists; and some music acts aimed at the young folk in the Becks Bar “Rumpus Room”.
This in a festival with hundreds of performances, exhibitions and events over 17 days.
Theatre: Australia, Belgium, Belgium, England/Germany, Ireland, Australia, Australia.
Dance: Australia/Iceland, Germany, Belgium, Israel/England
Film: US, UK (there’s a doco on an ex-Iraqi heavy metal band)
Visual Art: France, Australia/South Africa, Australia, UK, France, UK/USA, US, Australia, UK, Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, ad nauseum.
Why are non-whiteys pretty much confined to the music section? And apart from the Black Arm Band, they’re all in the Rumpus Room (which sounds just like the MIFF club, and is in the same location, but has an infantilising name). The serious music - there's a heckuva lotta classical - is all Bach and the MSO and some American organist guy whose repertoire will include a piece from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
I scratch my noggin, I really do.