12 March 2020

Your guide to this weekend's Art, Not Apart Festival

| Hayden Fritzlaff
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Art, Not Apart

Art, Not Apart returns to New Acton for its 10th iteration this weekend. Photos: Cole Bennetts.

Perhaps Canberra’s best-loved contemporary arts festival, Art, Not Apart is getting ready to celebrate 10 years of boundary-pushing art.

This year, the festival is all about turning a human lens on the issues we’re grappling with in the world today. It’s an open-ended concept, and more than 200 artists are set to unpack exactly what it means to be human and create art across an extended program of events from Thursday, 12 March to Sunday, 15 March.

The program is packed full of visual art, performances, music and unexpected experiences. Let’s decode some of the drawcard activities going down across the weekend in New Acton and beyond.

Art, Not Apart 2020

What: One-day free, contemporary arts festival
Where: New Acton and the National Film and Sound Archive
When: Saturday, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

This year’s festival looks to be as big and bold as ever. Check out multi-disciplinary works and Australian premieres of a range of video works over at the NFSA, taste regional wines with Cellar Door, sample local food vendors at The Forage, explore the temporary outdoor art gallery The Artery, discover any number of self-contained experiences, or settle in for an art-filled afternoon with a pop-up bar from Bar Rochford.

Need some advice on planning your day at the festival? Check out the full, free, expansive program over at artnotapart.com.au, pick out two or three time-sensitive activities you don’t want to miss, and then spend the rest of the afternoon wandering in between the various venues, unearthing art encounters as you go.

Exhibition Opening: Today I, Tomorrow You

What: Visual Art Exhibition Opening
Nishi Gallery
When: Thursday, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Nine artists from the Canberra Region have responded to the same creative provocation and produced new works that address our current and future relationships with climate and the environment. Installations, sculpture, photography and paintings from the likes of Sophie Dumaresq, Millie Black, Michelle Day and more will enliven Nishi Gallery long after the festival is over, hanging until 4 April. The exhibition opens on Thursday night with a free event marking the starting point of this year’s Art, Not Apart.

John Mackey

Saxophonist John Mackey leads the improvisational Melting Pot jam experience at Albert Hall.

Melting Pot

What: Jazz / digital media improvisation experience
Albert Hall
When: Friday, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Jazz saxophonist John Mackey leads an ensemble of the city’s finest improvisers in this high-octane, free-flowing jam session. Live projections are set to augment what is happening on stage, creating a layered, multi-sensory environment to get lost in. This is a ticketed event, with admission starting at $29.56 via Eventbrite.

Two Distinct Stages

What: Live music and performance
Soul Defender Stage, NFSA. Courtyard Stage, New Acton.
When: Saturday, 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

A huge range of live music is on offer this Saturday, with acts spread across two stages. Electro-choral artist Aphir and National Folk Festival Youth Ambassador Lucy Sugerman head up the Soul Defender Stage on the lawns of the NFSA while Happy Axe, proponent of the musical saw, caps off a stacked bill across the road on the Courtyard Stage in New Acton. Soul music, electronic sounds and singer-songwriters will be interspersed with moments of theatre and performance art, making these two stages your go-to locations if you find yourself with some downtime.

The pink Soul Defender truck

The Soul Defender, a stage converted from a military truck, is gearing up for its second Art, Not Apart.

Sound and Fury

What: Festival afterparty
Where: Albert Hall
When: Saturday, 8:00 pm until late.

“Each party has a virtue or sin,” reads the event description. “This one is GLUTTONY. That’s all you can know for now. Wear gold.” The official festival afterparty is shrouded in mystery, but what you can guarantee are good vibes and boundary-pushing art from the brains behind Little Dove Theatre Art and Dionysus. Tickets start at $38.67 for this once-off, all-out art party.

Eliza Sanders wrapped in gold

Eliza Sanders and the mysterious Sound and Fury afterparty make an enigmatic pair.


What: Techno art party
Albert Hall
When: Sunday, 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

In a bold attempt to redefine the techno party framework (and at least partially as a result of perennial noise complaints from their legendary warehouse raves), Canberra’s party pioneers Escape Ferocity have curated a daytime event of epic proportions. This boutique electronic music event is your invitation to cut loose, both from your inhibitions and your preconceived highbrow notions of what an arts festival ought to be. Tickets are available for $37.52 via Eventbrite.

For the full Art, Not Apart program including more information about ticketed events, head to artnotapart.com.au.

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