Only one of these events may have been planned for NAIDOC Week 2014, but three certainly coincide to recognise Aboriginal culture and achievement.
The first is the presentation of Bangalang, by five young members of Wagana Aboriginal Dancers, who depart for the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, in Glasgow, on Friday, July 4. Their performance of Bangalang, a Wiradjuri word for autumn, was presented to an appreciative audience at Blue Mountains Cultural Centre last Sunday. Bangalang was choreographed by their teacher and mentor Jo Clancy, in collaboration with Becky Chatfield, with music and song by Jacinta Tobin.
Following their invitation to participate in the festival, Wagana members spent more than a year raising the $35,000 needed to deliver their team to Glasgow. In fact they exceeded their target by another $5000, which enabled them to fund beautiful costumes and props like the emu puppet heads seen in the photo. While each participating country is limited to a maximum seven minute performance, their days will be spent in workshops run by the other countries, with performances each evening. The Wagana dancers are thrilled with the global cultural experiences and networking opportunities offered by the festival.
Another event gaining attention in NAIDOC Week is the launch of Christina Green’s book The Life of Riley. As a three year old child, Christina (then Riley) was taken from her Wiradjuri family into foster care. Following a series of horrendous experiences, she was then detained as an 12 year old, charged with her own neglect, in the notorious Parramatta Girls Home. From there she survived three periods of incarceration in the old Hay Gaol. In recent years, as survivors of the Parramatta Girls Home have come together to seek healing, she has worked with fellow Parragirl Bonney Djuric to ensure the future of the home and the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct as an international Site of Conscience.
The Life of Riley is Chris’s own life story pieced together during 25 years as she struggled to understand what had happened to her and why. Although a record of crushing privation and loss, it is also an extraordinary story of survival, spiritual strength and great wisdom. The Life of Riley, by Christina Green, $24.90, Paypal – email firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave a message including your name and postal address. Purchased books will be delivered in 5 – 7 days.
An alternative payment method is through direct deposit:
Bsb – 732 183
Acc – 596 014
Please note when purchasing The Life of Riley to message Chris through Facebook with your name and address and the book will be in the mail with your receipt delivered within 5-7 days.
From mid-west WA’s Upper Murchison region comes news of the third event, Wirnda Barna Aboriginal artists and their exhibition Drawing a Line in the Sand, at Hazlehurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, Gymea, in Sydney’s southern suburbs. The link with western Sydney is the manager at Wirnda Barna Artists, Brendan Penzer. Brendan is a visual arts and social ecology graduate from University of Western Sydney, where he conducted much of his research. Drawing a Line in the Sand continues at Hazlehurst Gallery until July 8. It will be great to have more news of Brendan and Wirnda Barna artists.