Asia Institute Tasmania



DARK MOFO | Dr Kaz Ross, Lecturer, School of Humanities

Start Date

20th Jun 2016 12:00am

End Date

20th Jun 2016 12:00am

Dr Kaz Ross, School of Humanities, University of Tasmania together with Cas Charles, local artist have teamed together to produce yet another spectacular Dark Mofo event.  Kaz and the team of Indonesian artists have worked tirelessly on this project.  Kaz organised the highly successful school workshop events held at Macquarie Point, which were fully booked out. Kaz also travelled to Bruny Island with the Indonesian artists, to promote Indonesian cultural awareness of art and dance to the students who are studying Indonesian at Bruny Island District School. 

The Asia Institute Tasmania supported the Dark Mofo 2016 school outreach programme which, through Dr Kaz Ross, created the opportunity for students to attend the Indonesian cultural workshops and become involved in the Ogoh-Ogoh creations.  The wonderful creation of the Weedy Sea-Dragon for the Ogoh-Ogoh event can be seen below.  We are already looking forward to next years collaboration!

Dark Mofo festival's fiery, frenzied finale

THE fears and regrets of thousands of people were ceremoniously banished in a spectacular, fiery conclusion to the artistic centrepiece of Dark Mofo last night.

The ogoh-ogoh, an Indonesian sculpture, was paraded through the streets of Hobart from Salamanca Place to Dark Park at Macquarie Point. There, in front of a crowd of hundreds, the papier mache sculpture of a weedy sea-dragon was set alight as part of a traditional Indonesian cleansing ritual. It was a stunning climax to the final night of the Dark Park art festival and Winter Feast.

During Dark Mofo more than 10,000 patrons wrote down their darkest thoughts and biggest regrets and placed them inside the ogoh-ogoh.

Last night the sculpture was dramatically set on fire during a spectacle involving Indonesian performer I Ketut Rina with a trance-inducing exorcism dance, a local chorus of singers and dancers, and American 32-piece percussion orchestra Itchy-O.

Before last night, 50,000 people had already explored Dark Park and 43,000 had visited the Winter Feast.

Both events wrapped up last night with thousands packing into the feast to make the most of the free entry and a huge crowd at Dark Park for the ogoh-ogoh burning.

The parade and burning followed a special closing ceremony attended by a large delegation of Indonesian guests, including the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, reflecting the country's growing relationship with Dark Mofo.

Kecak dancers, bambu gila performers and gamelan musicians have all been part of Dark Mofo 2016, while the Asia Institute Tasmania conducted Indonesian cultural workshops for more than 400 schoolchildren during the festival.

"We are excited to be a part of this extremely popular cultural festival," Mr Nadjib said.

"The Purging and The Burning are a great opportunity for us to showcase just one small aspect of Indonesia's rich cultural heritage, and we hope it generates a greater interest among Australians to visit and find out more."

Creative director Leigh Carmichael said the partnership with Indonesia was a big step towards Dark Mofo's vision of "becoming the iconic Australian winter festival".

"The next phase for us is to build deep and meaningful cross-cultural exchange programs with other countries, like the very strong one we've started here with the Indonesian government," he said.

"The ogoh-ogoh is becoming a highlight of the festival, and a symbolic way to end the festival and banish our fear. We're looking forward to working [with the Indonesian government] hopefully for many years as this project develops and our relationship strengthens."

The ogoh-ogoh are now in ashes and the Winter Feast has dished up its final meal for the year, but Dark Mofo isn't done just yet.

The festival continues today – the Day of Silence – with two more events: the sold-out Heart of Darkness concert at St David's Cathedral featuring John Tavener, Peter Sculthorpe, Arnold Schoenberg and Allison Bell; and Tasdance's 14-hour dance performance installation Hal'cyon at the Odeon Theatre.

Very different from anything Tasdance has attempted before, Hal'cyon features about 50 dancers of all ages and ability, drawn from across Tasmania and interstate.

Hal'cyon begins at 4.50pm and continues until 7.40am – sunset to sunrise. Entry is free, with audience members invited to come and go as they please throughout the night.

Dark Mofo will finish with a splash tomorrow morning, with the traditional Nude Solstice Swim to be held at Sandy Bay's Long Beach Reserve at 7.42am.

More than 1000 people have signed up for the chilly skinny dip. If you want to join them, go to to register.
June 20, 2016 12:00am
The Mercury