Above: Promotional GACPS images photographed in Thailand by Tada Hengsapkul.
From the Next Wave Media Release
The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
By Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard
Contemporary Australian society prides itself on an open embrace of multicultural influences and the diversity this brings to all aspects of modern living; from the food we eat and the music we listen to, right down to the design of our homes and the clothes we wear. The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (GACPS) is a collaborative project by West Australian artists Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard, drawing upon upon their Asian-Australian heritages to offer an over-the-top embrace of cultural and ethnic stereotypes and kitsch reflections of multicultural experience to Next Wave Festival 2012.
The admiration for these artists is evident from Next Wave’s Artistic Director Emily Sexton, who remarks “If the next world superpower could be created on charisma, bold ideas, huge ambitions and self-deprecating wit alone, we would be in safe hands with these artists. Three highly compelling Asian-Australian guys from the most isolated city in the world, whose pointed analysis and rampaging curiosity have resulted in a fantastical smash-up Embassy full of every cliché and stereotype you have and haven’t heard of. Believe me, you want to sing karaoke with these guys; you’ll be dying to join them for Tai Chi the next morning, followed by yum cha alongside your maths coaching. Abdul, Casey and Nathan finding new ways for Australians with culturally diverse heritage to articulate their place. “
The GACPS is a radically ambitious pan-Asian empire named and modeled after Japan’s geo-political ambitions during World War II. In light of our contemporary multicultural society, the concept of a block of Asian nations free of the ‘imperialistic influences of the West’ has been resurrected, and the GACPS offers a tongue-in-cheek peek into the superiority of Asian and Asian-Australian cultures.
The artists will be present as ambassadors for this kingdom in their headquarters, transforming the NGV Studio in Federation Square into an exotic, Oriental embassy for this fictionalised empire. These ambassadors will present a program of live performances and demonstrations involving Asian-Australian collaborators in and around their embassy, that provides a range of authentic cultural experiences, traditions and sensations for audiences. Through spectacular visuals and layers of humour, the GACPS issues a sly challenge as to how multiculturalism is perceived and encountered by the broader Australian public.
Above: Costume gallery highlighting Ambassadorial day wear (black and white) and evening wear (colour). Evening wear for Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard designed by Nathan Beard.