Beloved arts festival Cementa is back in the post-industrial town of Kandos for another year, stronger than ever after significant community fundraising initiatives secured ongoing access to a key venue, WAYOUT Artspace. Offering visitors four days and nights of performance, video, installation, sound, photography, painting, and participatory workshops, the festival operates with its characteristic attitude of anarchic inclusion.

Three and a half hours from Sydney via the Blue Mountains, Kandos was built in the early twentieth century to support the NSW Cement, Lime and Coal Co Ltd. A true late industrial (and now post-industrial) town, its former cement works and surrounding infrastructure are inhabited for four days and nights by artists and audiences during the Cementa Festival period. Offerings for visiting audiences emphasise connecting with local knowledges and ideas, as much as leaping to new imaginative heights through displayed, performed, and participatory works. As always, the atmosphere is community-oriented, grassroots in feel, playful, absurd, and attentive to the history and future of the local area. 

Program highlights include a performance night on Friday 20 May, also known as Opening Night. Held at the Kandos Return Services Community Club, curated by Fleur Wiber and presented by MC Clown Bride, the evening promises illuminating, and often irreverent performances from artists including Ivey Wawn, Ali G, Hannah Jenkins & Rory Green, Kaz Therese, Geoffrey Goodes, Oriana Panozzo, and Shammgods. 

Elsewhere, MAPBM presents Carnivale Catastrophe, a program of workshops and panel talks surrounding bushfire management, held in the aftermath of the devastating 2019/2020 fires through the area. A practical workshop on cool burning practices will be presented by Emma Symes of the North-East Wiradjuri Cultural Centre, complemented by a seminar where three systems of knowledge – First Nations management of the land, the physics of bushfire behaviour, and the impact of political, soci0-economic, and cultural systems – will be discussed by Uncle Peter Swain, Professor Jason Sharples, and Emeritus Professor Mary O’Kane.

Other highlights include Sound Night, curated by Trevor Brown, and the Cementa Community Markets, both Saturday 21 May. For audiences unable to attend in person, a podcast introduces us to featured artists including Sister Glitternullius, Shammgods, and Hannah Jenkins & Rory Green.

With over forty artists exhibiting amongst the Kandos community and welcome visitors, Cementa22 is a victory for artist-run events, and for the arts in regional Australia. 

19 – 22 May 2022
Various venues, Kandos, New South Wales

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