Asia and the Pacific: News Updates

Cherishing First Nations arts and culture – new fund to support COVID-19 recovery

The Australia Council for the Arts has announced a new fund of approximately $500,000 to support and invest in First Nations arts and cultural groups experiencing disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. First Nations arts and cultural groups and organisations can apply for grants upwards of $25,000 through the Cherish Fund.

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Film workers, artists to receive government social assistance

Film workers and artists who are affected by COVID-19 will be receiving social assistance, in the form of food packages from the government.

“These film workers have had no income for almost four months, as there are no film or soap opera productions, (they are) certainly very affected,” said Minister of Social Affairs Juliari P Batubara in Jakarta on Monday.

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Creative New Zealand Adds $13m To Initial Emergency Arts Funding

Creative New Zealand has dug deep to respond to the extraordinary volume of applications for its COVID-19 Emergency Response Package, investing an additional $13 million in its now closed first phase of arts funding.

Arts Council leadership on Friday (5 June) approved the organisation drawing on further reserves to increase its total Phase 1 investment from $16 million to $29 million.

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$345 million recovery plan to rebuild live performance sector

With the Australian performing arts ecology entering its 12th week of shutdown due to Coronavirus restrictions, Live Performance Australia (LPA) has released a two-year, $345 million plan to revitalise and rebuild the sector.

The package includes a six-month extension of JobKeeper for freelancers and casuals who can demonstrate they are unemployed because of loss of industry work due to COVID-19; capital investment in performing arts companies and productions to help them re-start and re-open; and incentives to encourage Australians to return to live performance events.

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Penang govt release guidelines to reopen arts, cultural spaces

GEORGE TOWN — Penang government has released a set of guidelines to reopen arts and cultural spaces, emphasising on social distancing and other public health requirements mandated by the federal and state governments.

In a statement today, Penang Tourism, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the Public Health Safety Operations Guidelines for Arts and Culture Spaces comprise key considerations to help arts and culture organisations make decisions on operations and programming during the COVID- 19 pandemic.

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Museums to feature items used in fight against COVID-19

WUHAN-Since mid-March, Gao Wan’e has been busy collecting items demonstrating China’s collective efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic with her colleagues in Wuhan, Hubei province, previously the nation’s hardest-hit city.

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We value our theatres, cinemas and museums – now when will they be back?

“Middle Australia” regards arts and culture as essential to its way of life, according to a new report out today, as cinemas, theatres and institutions grapple with the challenge of getting people back into their buildings with the future easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

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Coronavirus crisis: WA artists hit hard by COVID-19 to share in $1.5m support package

Western Australian artists will share in a $1.5 million coronavirus support package which includes an acquisition program and the creation of an archive featuring prominent living WA creatives.

Through funding from the Art Gallery of WA Foundation, the new initiative will provide support for living West Australian artists represented in the State Art Collection and Aboriginal art centres across the State.

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Creativity urgently needed in COVID-19 response

The creative industries have a critical role in a modern economy. Creative industries include the traditional arts, but also broader sections of the economy that have been hit hard by COVID-19.

Victoria has major strengths across the creative industries. Our small to medium and independent sector is described in the Victorian Government’s strategy as a creative powerhouse, globally-connected, innovative and a source of local pride and enjoyment. Victoria is the national focus of visual and performing arts, music and design. We account for about half of Australia’s television drama production and half of Australia’s digital games sector, but much is at risk.

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Resilience Package for arts and culture sector will provide support until end of 2020: Baey Yam Keng

SINGAPORE: The National Arts Council (NAC) has committed to sustained levels of funding for arts organisations, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng in Parliament on Tuesday (May 26), as he acknowledged the sector had been significantly affected by COVID-19.

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Parliament: More than 60 projects supported by Digital Presentation Grant for the Arts amid Covid-19

SINGAPORE – A digital presentation grant for the arts in the time of Covid-19 has supported more than 60 projects so far, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng told Parliament on Tuesday (May 26).

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Performing arts in the hot zone: Covid 19 leaves many artistes gasping for relief

It was a suicide attempt by a middle-aged harmonium player Suhas Das (name changed) in Howrah late last month that sent shock waves in the performing artistes community across India. There was no food at his home and no resource to get any. In a conversation with Kolkata-based sarod player Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, the musician somehow managed to mention how he was depressed since the lockdown began. There was no work, no stipend and the savings were already gone. Then there was the matter of dignity. “How does an artiste, who has so much to give to the world by way of his art, put out his hands and beg for money to get food on the table? Even the poorest of them would want money in return for a concert or a music class. They are wealthy in terms of their art. The pandemic drove him towards attempting suicide, and it was difficult and painful to come to terms with,” says Majumdar, who was so shaken by the conversation that he called his friend, Kolkata-based flautist and additional superintendent of police in Baruipur, Indrajit Basu, and requested that this artiste be reached and provided financial assistance.

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Art as therapy and outreach tool against Covid-19

Tehran, May 19 (efe-epa).- Doctors depicted as soldiers on the battlefront alongside more intimate images of them missing their families or caring for the sick are some of the tributes to medics by Iranian artist Alireza Pakdel.

Pakdel has produced around 80 illustrations since the Covid-19 crisis erupted in Iran in late February.

His work, which is shared on his Instagram account @alirezapakdel_artist, has reached a worldwide audience and has earned him countless thanks.

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COVID-19: Why arts funding matters now more than ever

Artists, arts workers, and art museums and galleries in Australia are some of the most severely impacted in the current COVID-19 crisis. While our arts sector is known for its vibrancy, its ecology is fragile at the best of times. It doesn’t receive the level of government funding that the arts do in many Western countries, or the level of philanthropic support.

The model is somewhere between public and private, and the sector survives on support pieced together from many different sources – institutional support, government grants, donations, sponsorship, earned income and ticket sales, along with a lot of good will and volunteerism.

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Gods in face masks: India’s folk artists take on Covid-19

India’s prominent folk artists have released a series of paintings to spread the message of social distancing and hygiene to prevent the spreading of coronavirus, writes Sudha G Tilak.

Working during the lockdown, which has now lasted more than a month, a group of folk artists and craftspeople across India have produced these illustrations and paintings in traditional styles.

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Australia: Copyright Agency to provide an additional $375,000 in funding to Australian artists and writers, with more funding to follow

The Copyright Agency has announced it will be releasing $375,000 in grants and bringing forward to the first quarter of the next financial year (July – September 2020) $1.8 million worth of grants under the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

The move to support writers, visual artists and publishers will provide relief to individual artists in the nation’s arts industry, particularly amid recent national and state government funding announcements largely geared towards supporting small to medium arts enterprises. The Copyright Agency will aim its funding toward moving arts events and festivals online, supporting emerging literary and artistic works focused on early 2020 Australian crises and supporting artists and writers affected by the global pandemic.

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Street artist charged with blasphemy for COVID-19 mural

A group of artists trying to raise awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic have been charged with blasphemy and subjected to online vitriol from Buddhist hardliners after posting photos of their work to Facebook.

Artist Zayar Hnaung apologized online last night, saying he was a Buddhist with no intention to of insulting Buddhism with the mural in Myitkyina, Kachine state, which shows health workers trying to rescue the world from a robed representation of the disease as death.

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NCCA rolls out aid for displaced artists

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is set to give out P4-million cash assistance to artists and cultural workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the “NCCA’s Assistance Program for Cultural Workers Under the State of Calamity,” around 800 beneficiaries will receive P5,000 each net of tax to help them during the extended quarantine period.

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Singapore’s media sector gets boost amid Covid-19, including $8 million fund to protect jobs

SINGAPORE – An $8 million fund launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will create more production opportunities in the coming months and, in turn, protect the jobs of media professionals.

The Public Service Content Fund is part of a series of initiatives introduced by the authority to help Singapore’s media sector tide over the Covid-19 pandemic.

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South Korea Unveils Movie Theater Relief Amid Virus Crisis

Exhibitors will be exempted from paying the usual 3 percent cinema development fund fee on all ticket sales, and studios will be able to recoup some funds lost due to canceled shoots or delayed releases.

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Coronavirus effects on the music industry in China and globally

Read our blog about Coronavirus effects on music industry and streaming. While Live concerts are being cancelled, streaming is forecasted to take over.

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Australia Council for the Arts unveils Covid-19 response package

“In the last weeks we have seen our cultural and creative sectors suffer enormous damage as a result of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis that has seen public gatherings, performances and exhibitions cancelled in the interests of public health,” said the Australia Council’s CEO Adrian Collette. “We must do all we can to support the arts community, for whom the impact of COVID-19 is catastrophic. Venues have shut their doors with little or no notice, organisations have been forced to cancel their programs and activities, and hundreds of thousands of arts workers have had significant negative impacts to their immediate and future livelihoods.”

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IC & FIC support cultural & creative industries hit by COVID-19

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) and Cultural Industry Fund (FIC) held a meeting last week to discuss various measures to support the cultural and creative industries hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, according to a statement by the two government entities on Saturday.

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S$1.6 million set aside for arts and culture sector amid COVID-19 outbreak

SINGAPORE: About S$1.6 million will be set aside for the arts and culture sector as part of support for the community amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and to prepare the sector for “post-disease recovery”, announced Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng on Friday (Mar 6).

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China, South Korea and Japan start to reopen museums after strict coronavirus lockdown

China, South Korea and Japan are beginning to reopen some of their museums now that their aggressive lockdowns, quarantines and testing regimes have curtailed the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). Shanghai’s public contemporary art museum Power Station of Art (PSA), best known for hosting the Shanghai Biennale, reopened today—as did the Shanghai Museum, also state-backed. Both have been closed since late January, when all of mainland China was put under lockdown to contain Covid-19.

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ART Power HK launches online activation of art events

Hong Kong proves its resilience with major players in the arts ecosystem coming together to launch an online activation of events in the city this May. Announced in March 2020, ART Power HK is an organically grown, collaborative campaign from the Hong Kong art community with a desire to maintain momentum for the Hong Kong art scene.

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NZ industry forms coronavirus action group

The New Zealand screen industry has formed an action group and a screen-specific online information hub in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Screen Sector Covid-19 Action Group will address the immediate effects of the pandemic on the industry following the hiatus of a number of large international line productions, although many “essential” productions in New Zealand remain operational.

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