Annual Report 2015-2016

AIAA Annual Report 2015-16

Australia Indonesia Cultural Ambassadors Project 2016
Following on from the highly successful Cultural Ambassadors Project to Bali in 2015, AIAA were very successful in presenting a series of major collaborative Australia-Indonesia performances and film screenings including:
– a series of film screenings of “The Rise of the Eco Warriors” at Indonesian universities and venues in Bali such as Bentara Budaya, Casa Luna Restaurant and the Institute of Art
–  the Australia Indonesia Forum on Art, Culture, Education and Environment held in Bali
– production of Mahabarata epic story “Shakuntala” in July 2016. This dance drama was presented as part of the major Balinese festival “Bali Mandara Mahalango III” on 28 July 2016 as part of a series of cultural events presented by AIAA in Bali. The Balinese government provided funding for the Balinese gamelan orchestra and dancers and funding support was provided by the Australian Consulate to bring the Australian artists to perform in Bali.
SHAKUNTALA – Australia Indonesia Cultural Collaboration
The Australian Cultural Ambassadors Project 2016 presented a performance of “Shakuntala” by acclaimed Australian artists Kerensa Johnston, Carmencita Palermo and Rendra Freestone in collaboration with Balinese Gamelan Master Bpk Dewa Made Nurjana and the Sanggar Seni Wergdhi Sanggita Gamelan Orchestra from Tabanan Regency as well as Made Denis and a range of stellar lead dancers and composers.
The relationship between Balinese Master musician Dewa Made Nurja Putra, Rendra Freestone, Carmencita Palerma and Kerensa Johnston were brought together to collaborate via the facilitation of Judy Shelley AIAA National Coordinator.
A performance of Shakuntala adapted by Kerensa Johnston an Australian performer of Balinese topeng with a long history of working with Indonesian cultural collaboration and performance. Using principles of traditional topeng, Kerensa draws together an eclectic array of mask characters, Shakespearean text, traditional Balinese songs, comic banter and wild physiclizations and social commentary to connect this story to the present. The story is a medium to both entertain and talk about the natural environment.
The story is originally from the Hindu epic Mahabarata and begins with Shakuntala, a beautiful princess born in the forest who has everything she needs. King Duswanto from a faraway kingdom comes to the forest hunting and immediately falls in love with her. At first she rejects him as there is nothing that she needs – her forest provides all and for this she give thanks every day. Yet, she does fall in love with him and there they make love in the forest. He returns to his palace telling her to wait until an entourage has come for her. She waits and Duswanto never returns and eventually she decides to embark on a terrifying journey to find the father of her child. As she nears the palace, she hears that the kingdom has gone into disarray. She meets a range of characters along the way who tell that Duswanto has forgotten the people, that he has become corrupt, he has forgotten the environment, all due to falling under a spell from a Leyak (witch). Shakuntala confronts Duswanto who claims no memory of her. When all is about to be lost, a voice is heard from heaven and intervention from the Gods save the day.

Byron Harmony Festival 2016 – 10 Year Anniversary
This year our Annual Byron Harmony Festival was a massive 10 Year Anniversary concert showcasing all the groups and performers of the last 10 years – It was a huge program expanded to start at 11am straight through until 9.30pmHarmony Day was again held at Main Beach Byron Bay, giving maximum exposure and community participation. The Festival was opened by Mayor Simon Richardson and had many important speakers such as Tamara Smith MP, Dawn Walker and Adam Bandt MP. Harmony Day was again coordinated by Corinne Sinclair and Judy Shelley assisted by the AIAA subcommittee- Byron Harmony Team and was a huge success for AIAA and the Nth Coast community special thanks to John Lewis for always being on hand to help out the AIAA events.  Held with a small donation from Multicultural NSW, stall hire and bucket collections of donations, the one-day festival involved a very wide representation of the many indigenous and multicultural communities that live in the North Coast and incorporated a wide variety of performances by local cultural groups and artists.
People who attended and participated were very appreciative to be involved in the Byron Harmony Day event and all performers generously volunteered their time. The Festival attracted the participation of about 300 performers, volunteers and workshop leaders and attracted an audience of approx 2000.
Byron Harmony Day 2016 involved people from many CALD groups including Indigenous, Latin American, French, Brazilian, Indonesian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Thai, African and Spanish.
Many thanks to coordinators Corinne Sinclair and Judy Shelley and many others in the Harmony Team for all their hard work.
Support for Refugees in Detention in Bali
During 2016 AIAA became involved with supporting a new group called “To Bali With Love Supporting Refugees in Detention”. Judy Shelley on behalf of AIAA provided support with event management advice and volunteer support at their fundraising events plus help with organizing Bpk Dewa Nurjana to present gamelan classes at the detention centre in Jimbaran Bali. Judy also visited the detention centre taking gifts for the refugees held there and making on going contact with a number of refugees from Afganistan, including Assad Azimi who began to take a leadership role at the Centre and was later interviewed by Dione Green at BayFm Radio. Assad is now living in Australia.
Multicultural Nation Radio Show @ BayFm
This year AIAA was successful in reestablishing Suara Indonesia @ BayFm as part of the Multicultural Nation Radio Show which goes to air every Tuesday @ 1pm – the team includes Judy Shelley Main presenter, the Japanese girls Yumi, Hiromi and Rieko who do Japanese Show every 4th week. Dharma Bradridge is back up presenter.
Many Thanks to the National Board
Many thanks to the wonderful National Board of AIAA Malia Ritaningsih, John Lewis, Judy Shelley, Vera Kos and Cynthia Webb for their many years of dedicated support for AIAA and Indonesian cultural exchange.
Thank you to our Sponsors 2015-16
The National Board of AIAA expresses sincere appreciation for the generous support of Bay FM Community Radio, The Australian Consulate in Bali, Bentara Budaya, Bpk Dewa Nurjana, Kerensa Dewantoro, Rendra Freestone and Rhythm Hunters, Lee Rhiannon and Tamara Smith.
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