APT8 is a vibrant celebration of Asia-Pacific creativity. It includes sculpture, installation, cinema, workshops and kids’ activities. For the first time, this APT features a live performance program, APT8 Live, designed to explore the role performance plays in art.

Since launching in 1993, APT – the world’s largest display of art from Australia, Asia and the Pacific – has drawn more than 2.4 million visitors. Its emphasis is on cultural expression and visual wonder.

“From an audience perspective, it really captures people’s minds,” says Aaron Seeto, QAGOMA’s curatorial manager of Asian and Pacific Art. “It’s a unique opportunity to see contemporary art as it’s happening in our immediate geography.”

Selecting the artists for each APT is a three-year process, and an incredible 25,000 hours went into installing the exhibition – “the entire organisation is behind it, across all departments,” Seeto explains. APT8 features 83 artists and artist groups representing 32 countries, so whatever floats your creative boat, you’ll find it here. These are our top picks.

Exhibits & Performances

Although this is the eighth APT, it’s also an exhibition of firsts. Artists from nations never before represented, including Mongolia, Nepal and Iraq, share their work this year. Among these are four Mongolian painters whose pieces revive the colourful Mongol Zurag style to offer commentary about life in their home country.

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Kalpa Vriksha is Australia’s first major showing of Indigenous Indian art. It presents the work of 19 artists from rural communities in India. Their work places traditional artistic methods, such as painting, clay sculpture and song, in a contemporary context.

The first-ever APT Live program, a series of artist performances and workshops, showcases the exhibition’s performance theme. One of the most anticipated APT Live events is collaborative dance project Yumi Danis, which explores the song and dance of Melanesia through an immersive multimedia installation.

There’s also an impressive homegrown contingent at this APT. Seventeen Australian artists (seven of whom are Indigenous) are represented, including Richard Bell, Lawrence English, Gunybi Ganambarr and Yukultji Napangati.

APT8 Cinema

In keeping with the performance theme, APT8 offers two significant cinema programs. The Pop Islam project explores contemporary Islam in Australia, South East Asia, India, Central and West Asia and North Africa. Curated by Australian artist Khaled Sabsabi, and featuring critically acclaimed films such as Persepolis (2007) and Timbuktu (2014), Pop Islam promises thought-provoking perspectives on a controversial subject.

Filipino artist Yason Banal has co-curated a fascinating collection of independent and experimental digital films from his home country, which has one of Asia’s oldest film industries. Filipino Indie surveys a range of approaches to documentary realism, and includes everything from social-media uploads to feature films.

APT8 Kids

For those of you with under-12s in tow there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Interactive artworks, multimedia activities and good-old-fashioned hands-on fun are all part of the APT Kids program.

Designed to get kids engaging with art, the line-up includes a number of workshops and projects run by exhibiting artists. Richard Bell will video kids in the GOMA foyer while they discuss their interests and ambitions; young visitors can create sand drawings with Vanuatu’s Marcel Meltherorong; make up a mythical creature with Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra; and record their wishes courtesy of Lawrence English and a specially designed recording booth.

APT8 runs from now until to 10 April 2016 at QAGOMA.