Three leading performing artists from Cuba and six community leaders from Melbourne rode a train on the Upfield line discussing the impact and prevention of violence in their communities.
The event took place on December 1, the day marking one week following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The collaborative performance work, devised by Cuban artists Adriana Arronte and Diana Fonseca, is titled Intercambio: A Conversation Between Two Trains, and was created as part of an international cultural exchange between Cuba and Australia with the goal of challenging family and community violence.
In 2015, a similar performance took place on the Hershey Rail Line in Havana, Cuba.
RMIT’s Centre for Art, Society and Transformation (CAST) led the project in partnership with the Cuban Ministry of Culture, VICSEG New Futures, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Moreland City Council and the Wifredo Lam Centre of Contemporary Art.
Dr Geoff Hogg, Director of CAST and joint curator of the piece with the Wifredo Lam Centre of Contemporary Art, says Intercambio “explores social engagement and intercultural dialogue”.
“The work is centred around the physical infrastructure of two train lines – the Upfield line in Melbourne and the Hershey line in Havana, one an easy suburban commute, the other a rickety ride to the crumbling sugar mills of a nation in transition.”
The work is one of a series of creative projects taking place in Australia and Cuba that will culminate in a substantial presentation of Australian, Cuban and collaborative work to be exhibited at the 2018 Bienal de la Habana, Cuba.
Arronte and Fonseca are the first artists to visit Melbourne as part of the project, which follows a relaxation of diplomatic and cultural relations between Australia and Cuba over recent years.
Story: Bradley Dixon