“It’s as if Sydney has suddenly come alive again today”, I said to my friend Kate, as we walked around The Beams Arts Festival in Chippendale. Earlier in the day, we had met at Carriage Works for Sydney Contemporary, had caught the train and bus for Hidden at Rookwood Cemetery, and were now back in the heart of the inner city. Later in the evening, Kate was heading off to see Tracey Moffatt at Roslyn Oxley. Art & About had also been launched in the last day or so.
Sydney Contemporary was good. My favourite was a beautiful, multi-layered piece in three dimensions by Chung Kwang Young. As a large piece it was amazing, but even more so when you considered the sum of the parts, being made of thousands of tiny paper boxes made from Korean mulberry paper.
Hidden at Rookwood Cemetery is a collection of sculpture and installation work in the midst of the cemetery, not far from the All Souls Chapel. I thought it was terrific how it wasn’t jumped artwork dumped in a space, but how many of the works were very much about the space, referencing death.
That’s what I also thought was really great about the Beams festival. I loved what appeared to be a really deep level of local engagement. There were projections on people’s houses. The music was coming from the balcony of apartments above. There seemed to be a lot for children to do also, ranging from hand-crafts to a hip-hop dancing competition (I think that’s what it was called). All very hands-on.