Culture and heritage

First Nations artists take over Hamer Hall

1 March 2019

Celebrate First Nations culture at YIRRAMBOI Festival as more than 100 extraordinary events enthral the city from 2 to 12 May.

From laneway pop-ups to a youth takeover of Hamer Hall, the packed program showcases more than 200 First Nations creatives, and most events are free.

Proud Boon Wurrung woman Caroline Martin, a direct descendant of the Briggs family, is the Creative Director of this year’s festival.

Amid Caroline’s 30 years of leadership in the arts, culture and tourism industries, she led the development of the award-winning First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, part of Melbourne Museum.

‘The program invites positive, two-way conversation and aims to inspire a shared vision for tomorrow,’ Caroline said.

‘While the cultures belong to First Peoples, it is our shared history and YIRRAMBOI is an absolutely magnificent opportunity for all to engage with our diverse cultures, learn and celebrate together.’

‘YIRRAMBOI celebrates over two thousand generations of continuous cultural practice and knowledge – this festival is a celebration of us, for everyone.’

Overseen by the Elders Council, YIRRAMBOI features mostly local First Nations creatives, alongside invited guests from interstate and overseas.

On the opening weekend, musicians, performers and creatives will showcase their work in Melbourne’s iconic public places for Barring Yanabul, which translates to ‘we all walk this path’.

This city-wide Blak-out will culminate in a youth takeover of Hamer Hall produced by Taungurung artist and curator Kate ten Buuren, followed by the Treaty Project, a performance featuring former members of Yothu Yindi and young artists.

Titled dis rupt, the takeover will see more than 10 emerging artists respond to the Hamer Hall site, which is on the banks of the Birrarung.

dis rupt is a way of asserting ourselves as sovereign people in an institutional setting that is long overdue for young Blak voices to be heard within it,’ Kate said.

‘We’ll be doing what we love and showcasing work that speaks to our perspectives, and challenges the audience, in a space where other people can celebrate with us.’

‘We wouldn’t be putting on a show called dis rupt if there wasn’t still a long way to go, but it will be an exciting afternoon, and the collective process of making the work will hopefully have long-term impacts for these young artists. The all-Blak curatorial team is made up of Kalyani Mumtaz, Cienan Muir and myself,’ Kate said.

‘We’re all collectively imagining the future of our lands and waterways. As First Peoples we have 60,000 thousand plus years of connection to our waterways, and have the responsibility of protecting them.’

‘This is an opportunity for young people to speak to the past, present and future, and have a huge platform to express their thoughts and feelings.’

YIRRAMBOI is produced by First Peoples and is presented by the City of Melbourne with support from Creative Victoria. The full program will be released on 21 March.

Did you know
YIRRAMBOI means tomorrow in the shared languages of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nations.The festival is a gathering of First Nations creatives and cultural leaders from around Victoria, Australia and the world, which happens every two years.

YIRRAMBOI Festival celebrates the vibrant living cultures and diverse practices of First Nations creatives, with a focus on new work, exchange and collaboration.

To find out more, visit Yirramboi.

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