Arts & Entertainment

Always Was, Always Will Be

Photo from Westwind, screening as part of the Virtual Indigenous Film Fest

While 2020 has been an unprecedented year filled with changes and upheaval some traditions will endure in the face off all adversity. One such event is NAIDOC Week, which acknowledges the history, culture, achievements and importance of our couontry’s Indigenous community.

This year the theme for NAIDOC Week is Always Was, Always Will Be in order to recognise that First Nations peoples have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists. Their adaptation and intimate knowledge of Country enabled them to endure climate change, catastrophic droughts and rising sea levels.

NAIDOC Week 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations. NAIDOC Week asks all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that Indigenous sovereignty was never ceded.

Throughout Sydney we have a range of options afforded to us as we look to partake in NAIDOC Week. Whether that be through art, music, shopping or even film there is something for everyone.

Perhaps the best way for Sydneysiders to support our Indigenous communities is financially. That doesn’t simply have to be in the form of donations though, you can get out do some shopping as you prepare for Christmas or pickup some great little pieces for yourself.

The Blak Markets are a great opportunity to purchase authentic and unique gifts where you can be confident in the knowledge that 100% of the profits will go back into Aboriginal communities.

This year’s NAIDOC Week edition of The Blak Markets will be held on the Tallawoladah Lawn (outside the MCA) in The Rocks on November 14-15. The markets will play host to over 20 fantastic Indigenous visual arts and craft stalls right there in the shores of Sydney Harbour.  Perhaps the greatest thing about The Blak Markets is the opportunity they provide for attendees to connect with and speak directly to the stallholders and artists themselves.

Head down to The Blak Markets to pick up some authentic, original and affordable Aboriginal artworks, beauty products, jewellery and one-of-a-kind homewares.

Another great shopping option is the Indigenous Collective Pop-up Store at Broadway shopping centre. This special event store will also play host to 20 different Indigenous designers offering Indigenous art, ceramics, clothing, and jewellery from all around the country.

To complement the pop-up store Broadway have also installed a range of Indigenous artworks throughout the centre in order to immerse shoppers in Indigenous culture throughout NAIDOC Week as they go about their regular shopping. You could spend an afternoon or more just wandering around the Broadway Centre taking in the magnificence and beauty of these artworks.

If that isn’t enough City Hub strongly suggests heading out Leichhardt to visit the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative. Here visitors can further immerse themselves in Indigenous artworks though the current Perspective exhibit by Luke Close.

Perhaps visual art isn’t your style and you are more of an audiophile. If this is the case the uniquely 2020 Isol-Aid streaming music events have a fantastic NAIDOC bill lined up for this Saturday.

Beginning at 5pm the event will feature live streamed performances from Indigenous musicians Boox Kid, Buby, Deeya Mithaadda, Dobby, Lyrical Instinct, Mardi Colville, Monica Kato, The Melindas, and The Struggling Kings. Isol-Aid is a free event but it is strongly suggested that you make a small donation to the First Nations Support Line at Support Act, even just the price of a beer goes a long way.

NAIDOC Week is also a great opportunity to educate ourselves about Australia’s Indigenous past and thankfully the City Of Sydney have a series of online events planned to do just that.

This Saturday the council will be live streaming a smoking ceremony, an important spiritual event which is truely stunning to witness. Then later in the day there will also be an online dance workshop for those that would like to get up and get moving at home. And finally there will be a lively panel discuss focusing on this year’s theme – Always Was, Always Will Be.

Finally if you’re a movie buff then Australia has some incredible Indigenous stories which can be told through the medium of film.

The Virtual Indigenous Film Festival hosted by FanForce TV for the second year running will showcase five films followed by Q&A discussions afterwards.

The festival will be presenting screenings of In My Own Words, The Song Keepers, The Flood, Wik Vs Queensland, and Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy. All followed by panel discussions with guests such as filmmakers’ Erica Glynn (In My Own Words), Naina Sen (The Song Keepers), Dean Gibson (Wik Vs Queensland), Victoria Wharfe Mcintyre (The Flood), Ben Strunin (Westwind) and ​Keri Tamwoy (Mayor of Aurukun).

“We’re excited to be partnering with FanForce TV for the NAIDOC Virtual Indigenous Film Festival, featuring an awesome line up of Indigenous content.” says John Janke, Co-Chair, National NAIDOC Committee.

“I think it’s a great initiative to keep the celebrations of NAIDOC alive, and look forward to seeing how the lens of film can celebrate and highlight the diverse voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.”

No matter how you choose to commemorate NAIDOC Week it is important that we do and acknowledge the importance of our Indigenous community.

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