Neighborhood contemporary art festival

Art exhibitions, performance art and even a street party will take over western Melbourne for 18 days.

Melbourne’s western suburbs have been an artistic attraction in recent years. Photographer Warren Kirk has documented its inhabitants and time-locked architecture in a set of photography bookswhile artist Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi Reko Rennie drove a hot pink Holden Monaro inflated through the streets of Footscray and Maribyrnong to a sumptuous operatic soundtrack. And in November, Footscray Community Arts and Substation come together to co-host the Neighborhood Contemporary Art Festival, the first event of its kind in West Melbourne.

The festival lasts 18 days and spans five galleries and event spaces in the west. The Footscray Arts Centre, The Substation, Incinerator Gallery, The Bowery and West Space will share with each other a range of exhibitions throughout the festival, unique artistic performances and other events focused on the communities that shape this diverse pocket of Melbourne.

The program extends beyond stimulating art exhibitions. There is a huge street party on opening night which includes live music (Ausecuma Beats among them), DJ sets and dance performances as well as food from local vendors. An immersive nighttime performance called The dream project takes over the Footscray Community Art Space for four days. Led by circus artist Dylan Singh, the play will combine acrobatics, projection art and dance to celebrate elements of the Aboriginal dreamtime.

In But First We Eat, Ethiopian pianist Girma Yifrashewa, Vietnamese-born concept artist Hoang Tran Nguyen and visual artist Michaela Gleave will host three distinct feast-style dinners inspired by their own cultural backgrounds and family meals.

There’s also a collaborative light show – and a love letter to the western suburbs – Between us, which projects Morse code into the sky; anti-tragedy dance performance I am Carisma, which deals with women’s resilience and empowerment; traditional Samoan dance party, pierced rap party The the, telling the story of two brothers; and much more.

The festival will take place from November 11 to 27. The full program and tickets are available online.

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