Australia House, Urada, Echigo-Tsumari, November 2015
Photography: ArtsPeople

We were delighted to attend the Australia House Autumn Program in Urada, Echigo-Tsumari in early November. Taking place on a public holiday – National Culture Day – we started the day participating in an athletics carnival at a local now-vacant school gym. After a few rounds of throwing-rice-sacks-into-straw-baskets, card lotto and an obstacle course (that involved diving face-first into a bowl of flour) it was off to Australia House, the remarkably intelligent building designed by Sydney Architect Andrew Burns.

The program also included a fascinating talk on Aboriginal Art by Art Front Gallery’s Fram Kitigawa, ahead of the Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route exhibition organised by National Museum Australia travelling to Setouchi in 2016. The day concluded with a community group effort to prepare Australia House for the brutal snowy weather the region endures each winter. Even in hibernation-mode, Australia House shone, with natural cedar panels beautifully off-setting the charred wood cladding (a traditional Japanese technique called shou sugi ban) of the main structure.

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