What is 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS?
Every week for one year from September 2017 — September 2018, we will invite a new artist to respond to a current political or social issue in the form of an action in their local community. The 52 participating artists will have total freedom in what issues they choose to address and what they decide to create for their action.
The artists will stage their actions in unique, physical locations throughout Asia and also share them with a global audience online.
In this way, 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS will generate a continuously unfolding archive of creative responses to everything from the refugee crisis and mass migration to the impacts of climate change around the world.
Image (above): Anida Yoeu Ali, 'The Red Chador' (performance documentation), 2015. Courtesy the artist
What is an action?
An action can be anything and everything that artists use to communicate and build awareness around important concerns locally and globally. It might be an artwork or a performance done in a public place, a shared meal with guests from varied backgrounds, a walking tour of a rapidly changing neighbourhood, a poster campaign, a podcast, a series of talks, a projection onto clouds... the list is endless and will involve a vast array of actions conceived by the 52 different artists.
As artists, we need to get up and do the work: we need to take action, perform, make art that makes people think, that questions the world and responds to the world.
- Anida Yoeu Ali, participating artist
How will you be able to experience the art?
Each artist will be given the keys to the @52ARTISTS52ACTIONS Instagram account for their particular week. They'll use Instagram to document their action in any way they choose and share it with viewers around the world. As an evolving project, actions will be able to build or reflect on previous ones. Participating artists will be challenged to create in innovative ways online that directly engage with you.
As well as through Instagram, you'll be able to experience and track the artists’ actions through a dedicated website, which will include an evolving map of the entire project as it unfolds across the region.
At a time that paralyses most of us with its violent reflections socially, politically and environmentally, for me what matters most is the act of transforming our thoughts and words into productive action that recreates rather than becoming more destructive.
- Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, participating artist
Who are we?
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS is curated and instigated by Artspace, a contemporary not-for-profit institution in Sydney, working with an extensive network of artists and collaborators across Asia. Artspace has a 34-year history of presenting high quality, thought provoking exhibitions, and a legacy of initiating innovative opportunities for audiences to engage with contemporary artists and their practice. We have a wealth of experience working with artists to achieve ambitious outcomes, and central to our program is the commissioning of new work.
Who are the artists?
The 52 artists and artist collectives will represent a wide spectrum of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds across Asia — from Bangladesh to South Korea, Cambodia to the Solomon Islands, Turkey to the breadth of Australian communities. We will release more artist names as the project unfolds, but participants include:
Young, Hong Kong
Richard Bell, Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang (Australia)
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Turkey
Anida Yoeu Ali, Cambodia/USA
Deborah Kelly, Australia
Hit Man Gurung, Nepal
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, South Korea
Rabbya Naseer, Pakistan
Pio Abad, Philippines/UK
Vernon Ah Kee, Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji, Gugu Yimithirr (Australia)
Why is this important?
There has never been a more important time for a project like 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS. Every day headlines and newsfeeds intimidate with an increasingly troubled world, where profit and personal gain are placed above all else and difference is feared. 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS spotlights the unflinching voice of the artist and the belief that empathy and understanding are critical for a better future. It highlights the importance of art as action — something that can offer a greater understanding of one another and the nuances of our individual circumstances.
I think the world's a much more dangerous place than it ever was. Art will play a tremendous part in the future in either picking up the pieces of the great destruction that could happen, or we will help to stop that destruction.
- Richard Bell, participating artist
Taking place online and off, 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS is the first project of its kind staged in the region to date. It is an open and experimental platform to give artists the space and agency to create new work. The project is also a democratic means of sharing, connecting and engaging artists and audiences with critical contemporary issues.
What will my contribution support?
The $26,000 will all go directly towards $500 artist fees for each of the 52 artists so they can produce their actions.
Artspace is a not-for-profit institution with a small team, so we need your support to realise this unique project. Kickstarter embodies the spirit of collaboration on an international scale that is at the core of 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS. By supporting this project you will be helping to commission 52 new artworks and build an unparalleled archive of artistic practices across the region.
This campaign has been selected by an independent jury for inclusion on Art Basel’s curated page on Kickstarter.
Risks and challenges
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS is an exciting structure for a project but being experimental necessarily entails risk. With so many artists in different locations we anticipate there will likely be tricky moments along the way, but Artspace staff have extensive collective experience working with artists and producing large-scale artistic projects all over the world. A key component of our program is the commissioning of new work, so we are very familiar with all the risks and challenges involved and how to avoid or best prepare for them.
Rewards connected to a particular action will necessarily be sent on a rolling basis between the start and end of the whole project, but we will communicate clearly with you so you know when to expect yours.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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