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Pioneering First Nations Program Unveiled

31 Aug

Media Release
Pioneering First Nations Program Unveiled

A city-wide smoking ceremony on Friday 4 September will officially open Brisbane Festival and Welcome artists to Country.

Led by Yuggera and Turrbal man Shannon Ruska, Jumoo is a customary smoking ceremony in Turrbal practices which will cleanse the city through a 65,000 year old ritual.

“After months of upheaval, unrest and uncertainty, it’s time to reset, refocus and cleanse,” 

Mr Ruska said. “Jumoo is a mass celebration and connection to Country to lead us peacefully and respectfully into September.”

Jumoo headlines a powerful program of six First Nations works, delivered by Brisbane Festival’s newly-appointed First Nations Creative Producer J-Maine Beezley (Wakka Wakka / Kabi Kabi). Simultaneous to this is development of Brisbane Festival’s Indigenous Advisory Group’s “Blak Curatorium”; an industry-leading initiative that enables First Nations governance to program and support the next generation of creatives and leaders.

The Blak Curatorium comprises Artist and Producer Alethea Beetson, Blaklash Creative, Co- Directors Troy Casey and Amanda Hayman and BlakDance Executive Producer Merindah Donnelly, who will work closely with J-Maine Beezley and Brisbane Festival’s Artistic Director Louise Bezzina to showcase diverse blak stories, voices and local First Nations creatives.

A highlight of this year’s First Nations program is the world premiere of new Australian dance work SILENCE by Karul Projects. The powerful and provocative call-to-arms, choreographed by Bundjalung-Yugambeh, Wiradjuri and Ni-Vanuatu man Thomas E.S. Kelly, is an urgent response to the last 250 years of colonisation.

"It’s 2020 and Australia remains the only Commonwealth nation that doesn’t have a Treaty
with its Indigenous peoples,” 

Mr Kelly said.  “The same questions have echoed through generations; promises have been made and broken too many times to count.

“SILENCE is about conversations not being heard and responses that are muted.” Produced by BlakDance, SILENCE plays five performances at the Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, from 10 – 13 September.

Also receiving its world premiere at Brisbane Festival is A Connective Reveal – Community by Robert Andrew; a mesmerising kinetic installation displayed throughout September at West Village, the new home of iconic Queensland multi-arts organisation Metro Arts.

As a descendant of the Yawuru people with European and Filipino heritage, Brisbane-based Andrew explores the exquisite complexities inherent in bringing people together in the deep sharing of knowledge and culture.

Richard Bell’s Embassy takes up residence at West End’s Bunyapa Park on Saturday 12 September following appearances at the UK’s TATE Modern and the Venice Biennale. Created by Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang Gurang activist and artist Richard Bell, Embassy pays homage to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy first assembled in 1972, inviting discourse on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights and sovereignty through a program of talks, workshops and film screenings.

A companion piece to Embassy, remake regenerate reclaim by Digi Youth Arts is a collection of music and spoken word performances on Saturday 19 September at Bunyapa Park.

Digit Youth Arts also teams up with Voices of Colour and Conscious Mic for Future Ancestors; a moving, short-form performance piece by spoken word artists Ethan Enoch- Barlow, Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi and Naavikaran at Metro Arts on Saturday 6 September.

Brisbane Festival Blak Curatorium member and Wakka Wakka / Kalkadoon woman Amanda Hayman said she was excited to see the impact of genuine community engagement and more opportunities for local First Nations artists. “The best people to tell First Nations stories are First Nations people,” Ms Hayman said. “As a proud member of the Blak Curatorium, I am excited about the collective impact we can create to ensure cultural integrity and legacy.” 

The reimagined Brisbane Festival 2020 will be held from 4 to 26 September.

The First Nations program is supported through the giving program by The Honourable Justice Anthe Philippides.

Jumoo (Smoking)
Free
Online
SILENCE
Sold Out

SILENCE

Brisbane Powerhouse

Future Ancestors
Free
Sold Out

Future Ancestors

Metro Arts

Embassy
Free

Embassy

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Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.