Intending to appoint a single First Nations Program Curator, Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina and the IAG said the quality of candidates was so outstanding, the Festival instead established a four-person “Blak Curatorium”.
The Blak Curatorium will be made up of artist and producer Alethea Beetson, Blaklash Creative Co-Directors Troy Casey and Amanda Hayman and dance producer Merindah Donnelly.
Louise Bezzina and the IAG said the Blak Curatorium would work collaboratively and culturally to deliver elements of this year’s program with its primary focus to develop and commission a powerful program of First Nations works in 2021 and beyond.
“Before COVID-19 challenged us to reimagine Brisbane Festival’s entire 2020 program, I was genuinely excited by the strength, volume and quality of First Nations work the Festival intended to present this year,” Ms Bezzina said.
“But we fervently believe that Indigenous programming decisions need to be led by Indigenous people. With the appointment of a Blak Curatorium, Brisbane Festival is leading by example.”
Brisbane Festival Indigenous Advisory Board Chair, Gangulu/Ngati Kahungunu woman Michelle Tuahine said the Blak Curatorium broke new ground and signalled a long-overdue movement in the arts towards cultural stewardship.
“This is the way forward. This approach and putting this specific team together – these individual creative talents and minds – is out of the ordinary and a unique situation alongside other major festivals in Australia,” Ms Tuahine said.
“It elevates how Brisbane Festival not only recognises but also understands the responsibility it has to ensure cultural integrity.