Take Me To Your Leader: The Dilemma of Cultural Leadership by Wesley Enoch

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Take Me To Your Leader: The Dilemma of Cultural Leadership by Wesley Enoch

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To celebrate Platform Papers’ tenth anniversary, writer and theatre director Wesley Enoch takes a forensic overview of where the performing arts are going in Australia, why they are no longer seen as integral to a healthy and confident society. He finds the arts community ridden with mistrust, and fearful of those who speak out. Australia, he concludes, is in great need of cultural leadership; of a fresh force to challenge thinking and gather confidence. ‘With the growth of government-led cultural leadership we have seen the voices of the mob, the dissenters and the opposition slowly becoming tamed and included in a sort of official culture’, he says. ‘Government champions the arts more these days than artists do.’

For a solution he looks to the elders of his Indigenous community, where debate is strong and loyalties deep. They are the custodians of our values and our history.

To celebrate ten years of Platform Papers, tracking the cultural thinking of the nation, we have invited Wesley Enoch, a theate artist and Nunuccal Nuugi man from Stradbroke Island, to define what we mean by cultural leadership; and to ruminate on where to find it. With the growth of governmentled cultural patronage, have we obscured the core reasons why the arts exist? Have the voices of the mob, the dissenters and the rambunctious opposition been corralled into an official culture? ‘I am sick of hearing we’re not good enough, we don’t do enough for artists, we need more money. Where are the visionaries? Artists are amongst the best qualified people to imagine a future, the ones who can carry the creative dreams of a nation. But where are you? Government champions the arts more than artists do, he says.


Enoch finds the arts community ridden with mistrust, and fearful of those who speak out. Australia, he concludes, is in great need of cultural leadership; of a fresh force to challenge thinking and gather confidence, to speak out as citizens in the national interest. But where to look? He finds the answer close to home.

WESLEY ENOCH is a writer, theatre director and Artistic Director of the Queensland Theatre Company since 2010. He is an activist in Indigenous and arts politics and his work directs focus on issues of Indigenous cultures and race relations. His best-known play is The Story of the Miracles at Cookie’s Table.

 

Review by Andrew Taylor- The Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/theatre/wesley-enoch-says-arts-community-leaders-are-whingers-and-whiners-20140728-zxqz0.html

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