The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

One of this year’s Next Wave Festival shows I attended was, aptly, devised by some of my people. Yes. The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, ever-so-slightly sardonically presented, suggests a pan-asian Empire. The event has been curated by artists Casey Ayres, Abdul Abdullah and Nathan Beard, and brings with it a long-awaited arrival of a disappointingly sparse presence of Asian folk in Melbourne’s art scene.

A friend of mine recently commented that, given such a low demand of Asian actors in theatre, they can almost be identified as an endangered species. Talent-wise, they are depleting at a rapid pace. The most recent appearance of one was at Australia Day. Enough said.

On a lighter note, I managed to photograph Casey Ayres, ambassador for beauty, in full livery, complete with ornate gold Thai headgear and deliciously tailored Chinese brocade suit (and medal.) If I had merely heard of this ridiculously ornamental costume, I might have snickered, but Casey wears it beautifully, and owns it majestically.

Casey Ayres

Abdul Abdullah, ambassador for passion, in a svelte tapestry-inspired suit with contrasting trims and chocolate shirt to match. Fierce.

Abdul Abdullah

A very pan-asian portrait, comprising of Angie Grant, the awesomely talented The Sisters Hayes (who seized the crowd on Ladies’ day,) comprising of Rebecca, Christina and Esther, with two of the ambassadors, Nathan Beard and Abdul Abdullah. Meaning business. Be afraid.

Pan Asian Portrait

A lady with the traditional Chinese cheongsam. She made me take a photo with her, and, upon viewing the picture, exclaimed that we looked like a pair from Tintin.  Go figure. It might have been because I was wearing a brown derby. Which would have made me one of the Thompsons.


Angie Grant, sound designer, who, with Thai heritage, provides me with the occasional very salivatingly appreciated culinary recommendation. The last time I saw her, she suggested I dine at Thai Taste on Johnston Street.  Actually, it’s called Authentic Thai Taste. And it delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Now, apparently, Yim Yam on Smith Street is pretty good.

Angie Grant

Incidentally, her look reminds me of that character, Little My, from the beloved Tove Jansson book of that famous Finnish family, the Moomins. It’s really those big eyes, that top bun, the red jacket and black shoes. How wonderfully adorable.

Little My

Jemilah MacEwan, absolutely jaunty and Liv-Tyler-stunning in everyone’s favorite little winter-piece, the cropped capelet.

Jemila MacEwan

This young man embraces the stunning reds in the studio with a casually twined chunky yellow scarf.

Chunky Knit



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