Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 09:41 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 09:41 | SYDNEY

Australia needs more cultural exports funding, not less

24 January 2008 10:36

Guest blogger: Alison Carroll (pictured) is the Director of Asialink Arts and the recipient of the 2006 Australia Council emeritus medal for her contribution to Australia Asia arts collaboration. 

Sam Roggeveen's comments (also here. Ed) on cultural programs overseas need some response. His comment that the government should not run such programs (presumably because it funds 'awful' art?) is ludicrous. His other comment that artists don't want to be involved in programs that promote 'positive' images — if by 'positive' he means the thoughtful, analytical, and heart-felt — is also ludicrous.

The data on this is huge and the examples are many. Two examples are exhibitions Asialink organised, with Federal Government support from the Australia Council and DFAT, in Korea and Japan: in Korea a show of Tracey Moffatt's work at the highly prestigious Art Sonje had queues around the block, a sold-out catalogue, banners across highways and requests for 'more'; in Japan a show of Patricia Piccinini's work had the highest attendance ever for a show at the very well respected Hara Museum, with 112 print media articles and the attendance of an Imperial Princess. The Koreans and Japanese partners contributed equal funding to the Australian side. Neither are slouches in their acceptance and response to any work from any culture overseas.
The real issue is that Australia spends little in this area compared with our peers. The argument can be made that we need to spend more than others because the complexity of our culture and history needs extra effort to understand. The new DFAT funding for culture was a modest increase on what was available and its seeming demise is much lamented.