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Kultour is a national organisation committed to advancing cultural diversity in the arts in Australia.

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Survivor: Dadang Christanto

Lismore Regional Gallery 21 July – 26 August 2012


Amazing footage from the Lismore Regional Gallery performance od Survivor on M&G NSW's blog http://mgnsw.blogspot.com.au/

Kultour, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A) and Museums & Galleries NSW (M&G NSW) are delighted to have the opportunity to partner on the presentation and tour of this dynamic project to six regional galleries in three states across Australia. As organisations that value high quality arts experiences for diverse communities, we are thrilled to be bringing work of this calibre and complexity to regional audiences.


Download the exhibition catalogue

Survivor is a major performance work by Brisbane-based Dadang Christanto, a significant contemporary Indonesian-Australian artist. Survivor continues a line of enquiry that Christanto developed in response to his father’s disappearance under the Suharto regime in the mid-1960’s. The work contemplates loss and history, politics and shared humanity.

The performance is based on a project the artist developed in Jakarta in 2008 in conjunction with the Urban Poor Consortium where 700 participants were involved in a live protest. 350 of those participants were from his native East Java, where in 2006, hot volcanic mud began erupting, wiping out 11 nearby villages. Unrelenting, the mud continues to subsume livelihoods, memories and futures. In 2009, Christanto developed this into a performance work for Australia at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Survivor is a single two hour performance; local volunteers silently occupy the gallery space, covered in mud from the neck down and holding a photographic portrait of a victim of the disaster. Over the course of two hours participants maintain a silent vigil, memorialising this catastrophe and its ongoing consequences. This exhibition presents the detritus from the performance alongside video and photographic documentation.

Survivor has evolved across cultural contexts and exhibition conditions, transforming Christanto’s initiative into a multi-faceted reflection upon what it means to survive tragic historical events. An integral aspect of the performance is the way it is transformed by the context in which it is conducted, becoming a catalyst for discussions of issues of local and global importance.

Presented by Kultour in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and toured by Museums & Galleries NSW. This exhibition is supported by the Contemporary Touring Initiative through Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian Government and state and territory governments.


Image; Dadang Christanto, Survivor, 2009, performance at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art,
Sydney. Image courtesy of the artist and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. Image credit: Garry Trinh

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