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Culture July 13, 2019

Artist Michael Armitage

With his bold, sumptuous paintings, Michael Armitage is intent on challenging colonial assumptions about East Africa and revealing the region’s complexities. “Sex, poverty and dictators: if you are talking about this part of the world, you always come up against those stereotypes and that’s been very difficult … For me, it’s been important to use an exotic language but show that it is also a form of dumbing down.”

Culture July 6, 2019

Actress Zahra Newman takes on Wake in Fright

Renowned Australian actor Zahra Newman knows what it feels like to be an outsider. In bringing that experience to the Malthouse Theatre’s one-woman adaptation of Wake in Fright, she shines a light on discrimination and toxic masculinity in our society. “Part of the thing that is nightmarish about Wake in Fright is the culture having to stomach the reality of that reflection without just lashing out against it.”

Culture June 29, 2019

Palme d’Or winner Bong Joon-ho

Rather than worrying about the nuclear threat from his homeland’s northern neighbour, South Korean director and screenwriter Bong Joon-ho has used his latest Palme d’Or-winning film, Parasite, to home in on the country’s increasing economic divide. “Of course we do worry about North Korea and want peace to come and our relationship to improve, but it’s not something that happens right next to me. What we really feel with our skin are economic issues.”

Culture June 22, 2019

Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao

Chinese dissident cartoonist Badiucao is observing the Hong Kong demonstrations, finding new heroes to join Liu Xiaobo and tank man in his art practice. “I think being brave is a kind of novelty, it’s not a common trait within everyone. Everyone has the potential, but I don’t believe we must force everyone to be brave. That is why when you see people sacrifice themselves, people like the tank man, it’s so inspiring because it’s beyond our nature. It’s something we should celebrate.”

Culture June 15, 2019

Queering the air with musician and producer Paul Mac

Paul Mac has gone from playing the organ at church to forming a band with Daniel Johns, remixing tracks by Kylie Minogue and recording his latest album, Mesmerism. Here, he discusses his art, his love of trains and his political activism. “Unless we are continuously vigilant about the rights that we’ve gained, they can quite easily disappear again.”

review

Culture July 13, 2019

Material Place and The Gas Imaginary

As mining interests continue to dominate Australia’s landscape, two exhibitions at UNSW Galleries consider humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources.

Culture July 13, 2019

Booksmart

A refreshing and often groundbreaking portrayal of female adolescence, Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart deserves to be a classic, despite its slow start at the box office.

Culture June 29, 2019

MTC’s Storm Boy

Although Melbourne Theatre Company’s Storm Boy is lushly produced, Colin Thiele’s story is showing its age – particularly in the face of a global climate emergency.

portrait

Culture November 3, 2018

António Serzedelo, revolutionary

A visit to the Lisbon apartment of polymath activist António Serzedelo.

Culture October 13, 2018

Author Deb Kandelaars

The writer of Memoirs of a Suburban Girl on her long road out of a violent relationship. “There I am, right in the middle of my teenage years and suddenly in a serious relationship. A relationship that pushes away my other life. Being hit was beyond my world experience. I didn’t want it to happen again. I started treading a little bit more carefully, and that set up a power dynamic.”

Culture October 6, 2018

Theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord

A chat with theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord, side stage at a rehearsal for Twelfth Night.

books

Culture July 13, 2019

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong’s debut novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, takes its title from a poem in his 2016 collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds; 10 verses spoken to a past lover, freighted with the same concerns that undergird …

Culture July 13, 2019

The US Lobby and Australian Defence Policy

Amid discussions about China’s attempts to expand its influence in Australia by means both overt and covert, a book that examines a far more successful operation involving another foreign power is especially welcome. Melbourne businessman Phil …

Culture July 13, 2019

Nganajungu Yagu

In this collection, which stands as an ode to the matriarchy and reinvigorates the art of letter-writing, poet Charmaine Papertalk Green imprints her multilingualism into the Australian consciousness through a trail of correspondence between herself and …