Australian Arts in Asia

“That’s fantastic! Do you mind if I take a photograph of your shoes?”, I said to the woman nearby as I noticed her taking off her high-heeled shoes only to replace them with some similarly glamorous flats. At first, she seemed a little reluctant. As far as she was concerned I could have been some weird bloke with a foot-fetish. As it turns out, I later discovered she’s a reasonably well known actor who is currently appearing in a program running on national television. So, on top of the foot-fetish, I could have also been some crazy stalker. In hindsight, I understand her initial reluctance. But when push came to shove and realised I was neither, she happily posed for a photograph.

Despite the modern day equality enjoyed by men and women, women still have to go that little bit further when it comes to formal events. My friend Kate, for example, agonised over what she was going to wear, taking advice from her mother who actually supplied her with an outfit she had originally worn back in the 70s. I, on the other hand, wore exactly the same outfit I’d worn to work during the day.

Kate had invited me to be her “date” for the inaugural Australian Arts in Asia Awards held at Sydney’s Luna Park. The Arts Minister, Tony Burke described them as “the first, and if we’re elected to government, they won’t be the last” when he spoke. The whole idea behind them is that lots of Australian artists are now working in Asia, and, in keeping with the Asian White Paper, there was a feeling that work should be recognised.

Kate was a finalist for the work she has been doing encouraging cultural exchange between artists in Australia and China. In the end, she didn’t win, but I’m very proud of the work she has been doing, and was so very proud that she invited me as her “date” for the night.

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