News & Insights

Season 1, 2024

Join the hum of wild, joyous and sensitive contemporary art

We’re thrilled to be launching our final season together as co-Artistic Directors at Arts House, and simultaneously, share with you all our Equity—Builder, and our Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2023-28. We hope these two action-oriented pieces of work – co-designed with leading artists and creative practitioners with lived experience from our focus communities – give transparency and forward momentum to what we’re doing, why and how. Season 1 2024 expresses these commitments, and celebrates the artists at the centre of our dynamic program where we prioritise cultural maintenance, renewal, and change.

From performances and exhibitions, to talks, meals and role-playing games, we invite you into our building as it hums with wild, joyous and sensitive contemporary art. This art and these artists affirm our shared humanity through troubled times. They ground us all in the belief that artistic experimentation illuminates other ways to live, and holds potential to transform communities.

We open the year with the joy that is found in the right kinds of wrestling: in rigorous debate and unexpected turns. Harrison Ritchie-Jones’ CUDDLE was a surprise smash hit of the 2023 FRAME Biennial of Dance and we’re so excited more people can be part of the fun. In Dissent, Daley Rangi invites you to join in (or watch) as a group of four imagine how and where and why we take civic action, together – here in the streets of North Melbourne.

Naarm-based Filipinx collective Saluhan infuse Arts House with new artworks inspired by the histories of diasporic Filipino artmaking and culture. With installations, performances and karaoke, this influential group of makers will be in collaboration with experimental music outfit Liquid Architecture. Pop icon and visual artist Rainbow Chan 陳雋然 similarly reaches back into the stories and resilience of her surviving female Elders in Hong Kong from the Weitou community. The Bridal Lament is a lush and electrifying bi-lingual song cycle that has taken Sydney and Adelaide by storm, and we’re delighted to host its Melbourne premiere. Later in June, the iconic Justin Talplacido Shoulder shares his latest fantastical creations in ANITO, queering the mythologies of his Filipino heritage.

We were delighted by the response to our first Guest Curatorial Project in 2023’s Okkoota ಒಕ್ಕೂಟ, and as part of this core Equity—Builder commitment, curator Vishal Kumaraswamy will return to present the second part of his anti-caste thinking and practices in Odalala ಒಡಲಾಳ. Running throughout Dalit History Month, the exhibition responds to Ambedkar’s call to Educate, Agitate and Organise in a subversion of the North Melbourne Town Hall. It features new commissions by Hazara artist Elyas Alavi and Berlin-based Sajan Mani alongside an incisive collection of local and international artists sharing video, sound, photomedia, sculpture and new performance works. There will also be a series of talks, communal meals and ways of gathering launched in the new year – take our advice and book early!

Arts House is widely known for our leadership at the intersection of creativity and climate justice, so we are delighted to finish our season with Ghenoa Gela’s new work of dance theatre. GURR ERA OP asks how culture is maintained when your island is sinking. From collaborators and kin of the Torres Strait island of Erub, Ghenoa will collaborate with Force Majeure and Ilbijerri Theatre to bring an answer straight from communities on the frontlines of climate crisis.

These nine offerings from leading artists and curators answer our urgent times with slow and generous imagination. We invite you to feel the ripples of these responses. 

Nithya Nagarajan and Emily Sexton


Image credit: Joseph Mayers

Image description: Performer, Rainbow Chan, is photographed between two beaded purple curtains. She is facing to the left of screen, wearing a microphone and singing.