52 ARTISTS
52 ACTIONS

Every week for a year a new artist will create an action about an urgent political issue and share it with people around the world. 

Join the Kickstarter to fund 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS

About 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS

Every week for one year from December 2017 — December 2018, Artspace will invite a new artist to respond to a current political or social issue in the form of an action in their local community. The 52 participating artists will have total freedom in what issues they choose to address and what they decide to create for their action.

 

The artists will stage their actions in unique, physical locations throughout Asia and also share them with a global audience online.

 

In this way, 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS will generate a continuously unfolding archive of creative responses to everything from the refugee crisis and mass migration to the impacts of climate change around the world.

  

 

As artists, we need to get up and do the work: we need to take action, perform, make art that makes people think, that questions the world and responds to the world.  Anida Yoeu Ali, participating artist

What is an action?

An action can be anything and everything that artists use to communicate and build awareness around important concerns locally and globally. It might be an artwork or a performance done in a public place, a shared meal with guests from varied backgrounds, a walking tour of a rapidly changing neighbourhood, a poster campaign, a podcast, a series of talks, a projection onto clouds... the list is endless and will involve a vast array of actions conceived by the 52 different artists.

 

Deborah Kelly, Beware of the God, 2005, projection at Circular Quay, Sydney, commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, courtesy the artist

At a time that paralyses most of us with its violent reflections socially, politically and environmentally, for me what matters most is the act of transforming our thoughts and words into productive action that recreates rather than becoming more destructive. Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, participating artist

How will you be able to experience the art?

Each artist will be given the keys to the @52ARTISTS52ACTIONS Instagram account for their particular week. They'll use Instagram to document their action in any way they choose and share it with viewers around the world. As an evolving project, actions will be able to build or reflect on previous ones. Participating artists will be challenged to create in innovative ways online that directly engage with you. 

 

As well as through Instagram, you'll be able to experience and track the artists’ actions through a dedicated website, which will include an evolving map of the entire project as it unfolds across the region.

 

Anida Yoeu Ali, The Buddhist Bug series, digital C print, 2014, courtesy the artist

Who are the artists?

The 52 artists and artist collectives will represent a wide spectrum of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds across Asia — from Bangladesh to South Korea, Cambodia to the Solomon Islands, Turkey to the breadth of Australian communities. We will release more artist names as the project unfolds, but participants include:

 

Samson Young, Hong Kong
Richard Bell, Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang (Australia)
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Turkey
Tromarama, Indonesia
Anida Yoeu Ali, Cambodia/USA
Deborah Kelly, Australia
Hit Man Gurung, Nepal
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, South Korea
Rabbya Naseer, Pakistan
Pio Abad, Philippines/UK
Vernon Ah Kee, Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji, Gugu Yimithirr (Australia)

 

Vernon Ah Kee, borninthisskin, 2009, courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane

Why is this important?

There has never been a more important time for a project like 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS. Every day headlines and newsfeeds intimidate with an increasingly troubled world, where profit and personal gain are placed above all else and difference is feared. 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS spotlights the unflinching voice of the artist and the belief that empathy and understanding are critical for a better future. It highlights the importance of art as action — something that can offer a greater understanding of one another and the nuances of our individual circumstances. 

 

Samson Young, The Coffee Cantata (Institute of Fictional Ethnomusicology), 2015, performance in collaboration with Michael Schiefel and Priman Lee, courtesy the artist

I think the world's a much more dangerous place than it ever was. Art will play a tremendous part in the future in either picking up the pieces of the great destruction that could happen, or we will help to stop that destruction. Richard Bell, participating artist

Richard Bell, Embassy, 2013–ongoing, courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. This version was created for the 20th Biennale of Sydney, 2016. Photograph: Document Photography

 

52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS has received support through the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.