Arts festival seeks to break down 'dots and didgeridoos' stereotype

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Posted

May 11, 2017 20:31:26

Indigenous performers from around the world have gathered in Melbourne for a new contemporary first-nations arts festival.

Yirramboi, which means tomorrow in the shared languages of Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung of south-central Victoria, features some of the best arts from the world’s Indigenous cultures.

The festival’s creative director Jacob Boehme said he hoped to break down stereotypes surrounding Indigenous art.

“Most Australians would think of Aboriginal art as just dots and didgeridoos, and we do much more than that,” he said.

“Yirramboi festival is the opportunity to show not only Melbourne, but Australia and the rest of the world just how brilliant our contemporary artists are.”

Mr Boehme is aiming to transform Melbourne into a “city-wide treasure hunt” of Indigenous arts and music on Saturday in a free all-day event, Barring Yanabul (we all walk the path).

‘Provocative and collaborative’

“It is our citywide ‘Blak Out’ so we’ve got 38 different artists, collectives and artists doing experimental practices all over the city,” Mr Boehme said.

“You grab a map and get out in the hidden places of Melbourne and come across some really interesting, provocative and collaborative art.”

He said it was important that Indigenous artists united as an international first-nations community.

“With numbers, we get strength and we have so much shared histories and commonalities between us,” he said.

“Of course when mob get together, we share knowledge, we share story, we share song; and that’s how we connect. As a global community, that’s the glue.”

First encounter

Choreographer Gina Rings has thrown caution to the wind in her quest to enlighten the young minds about the ancient cultures.

She is the co-creator of Our Corka Bubs which is billed as the first ever Aboriginal contemporary dance work for babies and young children.

It is playing at Federation Square and is among 60 events and performances in the Yirramboi festival.

“We’re working with children but we just keep the animals out and we’ll be fine,” she joked.

“I’ve learnt quite a lot … it’s so beautiful to see the children, their responses, and also looking at the parents and how they are watching their own child having a beautiful time.”

Our Corka Bubs features two dancers, sisters Taree and Caleena Sansbury, and live music performed by Owen Love, with movement and music choreographed specifically for babies and children under two years of age.

Rings said for many babies, it was their first experience with both theatre and Aboriginal culture.

Each show is guided by the children’s responses.

“We’ve got plan A, plan B and plan C … even the music is designed so we can let it go a little longer if something happens,” she said.

Love said it was wonderful to see babies and toddlers spontaneously dance and mimic the choreography, as well as clamber over his didgeridoo.

“They’ll (often) grab it, wonder what’s going on, how is he doing that sound,” he said.

At the Meat Market centre in North Melbourne, Auckland-based performance group White Face Crew is staging three shows of La Vie dans un Marionette, an Indigenous take on vaudeville shows of old.

“We use comic and clown elements to try and share a message about hope and brothers and loss,” Maori actor Jarod Rawiri said.

“We’re just really excited about being part of this festival, this is our first time overseas and we’re hoping that people can come along.”

The Yirramboi festival runs until Sunday night.

Topics:

arts-and-entertainment,

carnivals-and-festivals,

indigenous-culture,

indigenous-other-peoples,

melbourne-3000,

vic



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