Ms Annie Ivanova: Merging Cultures through the Importing and Exporting of Creativity

Australian Annie Ivanova is a cultural ambassador who sees it as her mission to create bridges between cultural traditions. She views art and digital media as common, unifying languages that transcend the borders of the world and connect its peoples. Over the last four years, she has resided between Melbourne and Taiwan, fulfilling this ideal.

In less than two decades of being professionally active, Ivanova has more than eighty international exhibitions, conferences, and public diplomacy projects under her belt, earning her forty-five awards from national or international institutions. She first became interested in digital media whilst studying in Europe, where she was strongly influenced by the new but rapidly expanding digital arts scenes like the annual Arts Electronica festival in Linz, Austria.

Ivanova went on to co-found and direct Australia’s first media arts agency, Novamedia Ltd, representing some of Australia’s most renowned digital media artists. In her quest to promote Australian art internationally, she travelled to various global centres of digital media, collaborating with some of the most prestigious arts institutions in the world and taking up positions as curator-in-residence in Denmark.

Her relationship with Taiwan began in 2010 when she was invited to be a VIP international curator at Art Taipei. In the same year she organized Encoded, the first Australian media art exhibition in Taiwan, followed up with the enormously successful Wonderland: New Contemporary Art from Australia at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in 2012. Besides her efforts importing Australian art and design to Taiwan, she was all the while dedicated to exporting Taiwanese art and design. To this end she organized Illuminations, a Taiwanese media art exhibition in Singapore in 2013, and initiated for Taiwanese designers to be keynote presenters at the prestigious agIdeas Design Week in Melbourne.

In 2013, Ivanova travelled around Taiwan and met with members from all of Taiwan’s recognized aboriginal tribes. She hoped to call international attention to the endangered culture of the island’s indigenous inhabitants. Being the first foreign curator to participate in such an undertaking, her work was recognized by the Australian Arts in Asia Awards.

Annie Ivanova’s most recent undertaking is the Gifts from the Star exhibition at Taipei 101. Taking place until January 4 on the forth floor of the chic Taipei 101 Plaza, the exhibition features 101 products by up-and-coming Taiwanese designers. Each item is displayed in a gift-shaped box within a gift-shaped exhibition room, with an elegant, 12-meter decorated Christmas tree presiding over the exhibition area. Through this event she hopes to encourage shoppers to appreciate Taiwanese design power, and consider local products as holiday gifts this year.

Ivanova selected the designers based on research for her upcoming book about Taiwanese product design and culture. She also has some ideas brewing for Taipei’s 2016 WDC designation. Always building up her network of creative contacts, aspiring to coalesce the corners of the globe into one diverse family through art and design, she sums up the simplicity of her passion when she asserts, “I don’t see any of it as work. I just do it because it’s good to be done.”

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