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Arts events showcase First Nations’ voices during NAIDOC Week

The unique art and culture of First Nations peoples is in the spotlight this week with NAIDOC Week celebrations across the state.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said this year’s theme for NAIDOC Week: ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let's work together for a shared future’ recognises shared history and provides the opportunity for truth telling in the community.

“As the nation celebrates the history, culture and achievements of First Nations peoples, we are reminded that we can find common ground, acknowledge the truth, rebuild, restructure, reconnect and work together for a better future,” she said.

“This year’s theme is all about hearing the voices of First Nations peoples and it ties into this year being the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages.

“The arts play an important part of connecting to First Nations culture with storytelling, dance, artwork and song acting as a mechanism for truth telling, and there are many arts and cultural activities taking place in all corners of the state for NAIDOC Week.

“This week there are plenty of opportunities for Queenslanders to join in the week-long celebrations to hear and learn stories dating back thousands of generations, including a range of art exhibitions, cultural gatherings, dance, performances, arts and craft workshops and family events.”

Ms Enoch said alongside community events happening right across the state, Queensland’s state cultural institutions were also celebrating.

“Queensland Museum has kicked off its NAIDOC Week celebrations with an exhibit by renowned Aboriginal artist Danie Mellor, New Materialisms (anticipating Girrugarr) I-V, a collaborative project between the artist and Far North Queensland Jirrbal Elder Uncle Ernie Grant comprising five large-scale photographic prints that depict the Aboriginal ancestral story of Girrugarr.

Ms Enoch said one of the biggest celebrations of NAIDOC Week in Queensland was the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) starting tomorrow, which is Australia’s premier celebration of First Nations’ art and culture.

“CIAF celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with an expanded five-day program showcasing the talent of about 600 First Nations’ visual and performing artists,” she said.

“Featuring an art fair, exhibitions, music, fashion performance, dance, comedy, workshops and more, CIAF is an iconic Queensland event and extravaganza of arts and culture showcasing the stories of the First Nations peoples of Queensland.”

City of Gold is currently playing at Queensland Theatre until July 20.

“This is an incredibly powerful story about what it means to be a First Nations person in today’s Australia,” Ms Enoch said.

The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is also featuring a poetry series, Collecting Australia, by award-winning author and Mununjali woman Ellen Van Neerven.

This poetry series is in response to work by Dale Harding, Destiny Deacon and Judy Watson, and there will be a free poetry reading on Saturday (13 July) at the Queensland Art Gallery.

Other events this week include:

  • I heard it on the radio special Kids Country Hour.
    Wednesday, 10 July - State Library of Queensland   
    An interactive kid's country music performance with First Nations storyteller and musician, Jhindu Lawrie.
  • Meet Our Curators: NAIDOC WEEK
    Wednesday 10 July – Queensland Museum 
    Social history curator Judith Hickson will talk about two recently acquired objects, a stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic 1967 referendum and a painting by Wik Elder and land rights activist John Pampeya Koowarta.
  • Posters from the Park
    Until July 14 – Queensland Museum, Whale Mall
    An exhibition displaying collection of posters from NAIDOC Week celebrations.
  • Musgrave Park Family Fun Day 
    Friday 12 July - Musgrave Park, West End
    A day to showcase aspects of First Nations culture and heritage through performing arts, traditional foods, arts and crafts.  

For more NAIDOC Week community activities across Queensland, visit: https://www.datsip.qld.gov.au/annual-dates-cultural-significance/naidoc-week/naidoc-week-events-calendar

Media contact: 0431 427 297