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Arts Yarn Up - Autumn 2012

Arts Yarn Up - Autumn 2012

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Published by: Australia Council for the Arts on May 31, 2012
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07/30/2013

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 Autumn 2012• ISSN 1442 5351
KEEPING CULTURE STRONG
 
2
 Autumn 2012 Arts Yarn Up
 The Australia Council for the Arts is the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body. For comments or submissions to
 Arts Yarn Up
: The editor,
 Arts Yarn Up
 AustraliaCouncil for the Arts, 372 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, email atsia@australiacouncil.gov.au or phone 02 9215 9000. © Australia Council 2012 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968
, all rights are expressly reserved. ISSN 1442-5351. The Australia Council respects Indigenous communities andculture. Readers should be aware that this publication may contain images or references to members of the Indigenous community who have passed away.
Cover:
Warren H Williams.
Photo: Karen Steains.
Editorial
 o t   o S  t   u S  p en c e.
SHAPING THE FUTURETO KEEP CULTURE STRONG
 To all arts workers, practitioners and cultural keepers –I wish you a positive future and hope that the Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander Arts Board and Division continuethe great legacy of providing support, career paths andacknowledgments of all our creative endeavours.Sadly, my term as Chair has now expired. I hope that Ihave left something that future Board members, staff andthe Australia Council, and the Federal Government, canaspire to continue. One important achievement to note isthe inherited legacy, from all previous Chairs and Boardmembers, that has delivered a fair and accountablefunding process since the Board’s inception in 1973. Ourcountry is much the richer when we see the significantrole that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts rightfullyclaim in the Australian landscape.One of my passions has been the elevation and profilingof the role of our Law and Cultural Bosses. They haveassisted all of us in our identity, our wellbeing, ourspirituality and our place within Australia. Theirempowerment is vital to our future concrete existence –if we fail to recognise and understand this, we are lost. The old assimilation policies will have won over ourculture, resulting in the loss of the pure form of our ancientexistence forever. Our art, in whatever medium or form,has its Dreaming, its roots and its spirit wrapped in ouressence of being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Wemust remain united, strong, and carry forward into thefuture the quality and soul of who we are. We do thisthrough the arts, including law and culture, for thebetterment and enrichment of ourselves, our inheritance,our future and our country. To those non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoplewho engage with, work with, and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and practitioners inadministrative, creative and reconciliatory roles – I thank you on behalf of all our people. Your support, contributionand guidance assist us all collectively to be so muchricher. Your genuine love of our country and its ancientcultures – along with your own diversity, history, originsand cultures – makes our country a greater place inwhich to live.With my wife Tania, I send a big thank you to everyonewho has supported me, believed in me and trustedme. I look forward to bumping into you somewherethroughout Australia as I assist Mary G with her luggagein continuous journeys.I am honoured to have served as Chair, in the footsteps of a long line of decision-makers since the 1970s whoshaped the national landscape for Indigenous arts. I knowthat we in turn have shaped the future landscape for thenext generation.Ihope our identity, cultures, languages, dances andceremonies will not be neglected like the ancient rock artsof the Pilbara.I am excited for the next generation of leadership for the Board. In closing, I would like to thank our entire arts community for their vision, passion andcommitment to keeping culture strong.
Dr Mark Bin Bakar Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board
‘I am honoured to haveserved as Chair, in thefootsteps of a long lineof decision-makers sincethe 1970s who shapedthe national landscapefor Indigenous arts.’
 
H
eld every four years since its inception in 1972,FOPA brings together 2,500 performers, artists andcultural practitioners from 27 countries andterritories across the Pacific region.FOPA offers Indigenous peoples the opportunity toshare customary practices in dance, music, food andcrafts. The festival bridges the gap between traditionaland contemporary cultural expression, while revitalisingand reflecting on traditional arts and culture.FOPA 2012 will be the largest event ever hosted in theSolomon Islands, which received the festival flag duringthe 10th festival, hosted by American Samoa in 2008. The 2012 program includes traditional andcontemporary visual and performing art: music, dance,oratory and storytelling, theatre, film, handicrafts, literature,tattooing, fire walking, culinary arts, fashion, photographyand traditional healing. Australia will send a 76-strong delegation to FOPA 2012, to be held in the Solomon Islands’ capital Honiara. The curatorial team behind the Australian delegation isQueensland Theatre Company’s Wesley Enoch; visualartist and ProppaNow co-founder, Vernon Ah Kee;independent choreographer Marilyn Miller; and creativedirector of the Queensland State Library’s kuril dhagunIndigenous Knowledge Centre, Nadine MacDonald Dowd.FOPA 2012’s theme, ‘Culture in Harmony withNature’, recognises both the traditional link betweenIndigenous cultures and the natural world, and themodern day threats posed by climate change, naturaldisasters and rising sea levels.‘FOPA is a hugely significant event for Indigenouspeoples both here and throughout the region,’ said Vernon Ah Kee. ‘It’s more than an artistic and culturalexchange between individuals: it’s a social and politicalexchange between peoples.‘The Australian delegation will be strong and diverse. The nature of the festival lends itself to performance butwe are taking a strong delegation that also includes visualartists, writers, singers and musicians.’ The interaction between delegations, as they explorelinks and differences between traditional andcontemporary culture, may be the highlight of FOPA 2012.‘We value our traditional culture but we’re not limitedby it. Australia is a first-world country and most of us livetechnological lives – our art demonstrates that realityalongside our traditional roots,’ said Vernon. This year FOPA will reach a much wider audiencethan ever before, thanks to an innovative online strategyincluding digital storytelling.Fellow member of the curatorial team,Nadine McDonald-Dowd, said that the Australiandelegation is using technology to open up FOPA toonline audiences.‘We have a team creating digital stories so that peoplewho can’t be in Honiara can still participate in the festival,’she said. ‘A dedicated blogger will also travel with us,uploading podcasts, interviews and images from FOPA towww.fopa.australiacouncil.gov.au.’Nadine said highlights of the Australian delegationinclude ‘great new dancers and choreographers who arepushing into new areas and combining traditional dancewith contemporary styles’.FOPA was conceived at a 1969 Conference of thePacific Community with the aim of supporting themaintenance of traditional practices. FOPAs aims havebroadened to include building solidarity and pride acrossthe region, and bridging the gap between traditional andcontemporary cultural expression. Vernon believes FOPA should receive much greaterrecognition. ‘This is our region and we need to engagemore, not just between nations but within nations,including significant communities from around the Pacific,living in Australia.’
Images of two of the 76-member Australian delegation toFOPA 2012.
 Above left:
The Chooky Dancers from Elcho Island.
Photo: courtesy of Joshua Bond. Above right:
Sharon Phineasa.
Photo: Amily Phimeasa.
3
 Autumn 2012 Arts Yarn Up
www.festival-pacific-arts.org.sb
Thousands of artists and performers will gather in the Solomon Islands from 1-14 July 2012 for thePacific’s largest, most colourful and dynamic cultural event: the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA).
11th Festival of Pacific Arts:Traditional meets contemporary

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