Due West Festival Comes to Melbourne

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A new wave of local contemporary artists and acclaimed international acts will present at Due West Arts Festival, running 15-24 November, celebrating Melbourne's west as a hotspot for art, culture and entertainment.

Produced by Footscray Community Arts Centre and now in its second year, the program offers 40+ immersive events across 14 indoor and outdoor sites in the west. People of all ages can experience performances, parties and installations that amplify the unique voice, sound and music of the region and its people.

"We're proudly giving a platform to the people and communities of Melbourne's west," said Lana Nguyen, Executive Producer of Due West Arts Festival.

"Bringing together local, national and International Artists, we'll pay tribute to the history of the west - looking back at our roots, so we can move forward together."

The west is home to some of Victoria's oldest suburbs including Footscray, Yarraville and Seddon. It is also one of the fastest growing areas in the country, and has a higher predicted rate of population growth than any other Melbourne metropolitan region.
These dynamics run through the festival's program, with works that examine shifting identities, reconcile the past with the present, and pay homage to iconic sites in Footscray and surrounds.

"Over time, the West has seen the intersection of many communities - from First Nations groups, people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, to the working class people and artists who've lived and worked here for decades, as well as those who've moved to the area more recently," said Ms Nguyen.

"The festival embraces and explores this diversity, promoting an intercultural conversation about 'place' and what it means to belong in the west."

Funded by Maribyrnong City Council, Mayor Cr Martin Zakharov said the festival would offer people the opportunity to participate, interact and engage with stories across a multitude of artforms.

"You'll be spoilt for choice, with a diverse line-up of events, including theatre, live art, dance, visual art, spoken word and films by local, national and International Artists," said Cr Zakharov.

"I encourage you to get out there and enjoy all that this brilliant festival has to offer."

In Footscray by Night (A Second Call), karaoke videos will be screened in Nicholson Street Mall in tribute to the Little Saigon market - a hallmark of the Vietnamese community that burned down in 2016, leaving questions of gentrification and reclamation of space in its wake.

Guided by Footscray's traders and its newest young arrivals, Behind the Counter will tour the shopkeeper's domain and enter hidden realms beyond the facade. Through performances and installations, the latest work by the Alfred Solomon's Project is an inter-generational, theatrical meditation on the timelessness of place.

In a century-old factory emblematic of the west's pioneering industrial heritage, West Rave will transform the historical Kinnears Ropeworks site into a party venue for the very first time. Presented by Cool Room, the collective continues their push for diversity in electronic music, and creates safe spaces for marginalised peoples to dance, particularly LGBTQI+, women, people of colour and people with disabilities.

In Kala, a classical Indian dance performance featuring a live orchestra, artists Raina Peterson and Govind Pillai (In Plain Sanskrit, Bent Bollywood, Third Nature) take audiences on a transformative journey about death and regeneration.

Daniel Atlaw presents THE WEST AZMARIS, bringing together local musicians from the Ethiopian community in Victoria to create new works in the traditions of Ethio-Jazz. Feast on a night of tastes and sounds, including a traditional coffee ceremony and locally-prepared Ethiopian food.

"At its heart, we've created this festival with and for the people of the west," said Ms Nguyen.

"Not everybody feels comfortable walking into a gallery or theatre, or expects to see their stories represented inside. To de-mystify that experience of contemporary art, we're bringing it outdoors and into unusual spaces where people can take part in its creation, express their ideas and add their voice to the mix."

In Children of the Evolution, kids will certainly be seen and heard as they take experts to task in a riotous, interactive talk show and podcast recording. With topics ranging from the ridiculous to the political, young people will dig deep into issues that many adults still struggle to confront. Produced by physical theatre group Born in a Taxi, the show is set to be equal parts hilarious and horrifying.

Celebrating water as an essential element of life, FLOW is a participatory multimedia workshop created in collaboration with local schools that will be hosted in two shipping containers along the Maribyrnong River. The resulting mural artworks and soundscape will be projected outdoors at sunset, inviting participants and spectators to reflect on the significance of the waterways to the local community.

Curated works in Nikki Lam's Everything that exists in the current will pop-up in cafes and restaurants throughout central Footscray. The exhibition explores the emotional and social implications of moving between different states of being, and what happens when lives are interrupted, uprooted and relocated.

In a 'westside' debut, DJ MzRizk will bring her popular Block Party to Maddern Square. A jam of music, live performances and dance in an open-air venue, this free event calls for people of all ages to get down with some of the best artists in and around Melbourne.

Due West Arts Festival will run 15-24 November at various locations across Melbourne's west. Events are free and ticketed.

Further information will be available at duewestartsfestival.com.au from Friday 6 September.

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