The strength and diversity of Aboriginal dance, art, storytelling and song will be celebrated by the Australian Museum when its inaugural Festival of Aboriginal and Pacific cultures, Weave opens on 1 March 2018.
The month-long festival features exhibitions, performances, films, talks, hands-on workshops and the creation of a new major sculpture dedicated to Sydney’s Aboriginal women. Respected Elders, artisans and community groups will weave together their knowledge and stories to build a better understanding of First Nations cultures across Australia and the region.
Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said the museum’s Festival of Aboriginal and Pacific cultures will bring historical and contemporary objects and experiences to life through storytelling, creative arts and the sharing of knowledge.
“Weave is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to explore the rich culture, history and resilience of the world’s oldest living cultures,” said Ms McKay. “The AM’s inaugural Festival of Aboriginal and Pacific cultures will weave together historical and modern knowledge, art and experiences, to build a better shared future for all Australians.”
The centerpiece is Gadi – a landmark exhibition celebrating the rich culture of Aboriginal Sydney through historical, contemporary and archaeological material from the AM’s collections, some of which will be shown in public for the first time. Headlining the exhibition will be the creation on-site, by Elders and master weavers, of a major sculptural installation dedicated to Aboriginal fisherwomen, which includes a four-metre-long woven canoe.
Weave will also feature the world premiere of the groundbreaking virtual reality film Carriberrie – which takes viewers on an exhilarating 3D journey across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance and music, from Uluru to Moa and Sydney Harbour.
Narrated by award-winning actor and dancer David Gulpilil, the 360° live-action documentary explores a stunning array of locations and performances, from ceremonial dances in the Central Desert, to a modern-day performance in Sydney by Bangarra Dance Theatre.
Australian Museum Creative Producer (First Nations) Laura McBride said Weave had empowered Aboriginal and Pacific staff and their communities to present their own stories.
“The most rewarding and accurate way to learn about another culture is from the people themselves,” said Ms McBride. “Weave is a new opportunity to immerse yourself in Aboriginal and Pacific culture in events and exhibitions, designed and led by Aboriginal and Pacific people.”
Weaving is a cultural practice shared by First Peoples in our region. The word “weave” illustrates how the festival will bring together historical and new knowledge. Weave will also showcase the Australian Museum’s cultural collections and First Australians galleries – home to the permanent exhibitions Garrigarrang: Sea Country and Bayala Nura: Yarning Country – which celebrate the history, spirituality and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The launch of Weave on 1 March will also mark the release of the Australian Museum’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategy 2017 – 20, which recognizes the museum’s commitment to embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, values and knowledge systems across the institution.
Weave: Festival of Aboriginal and Pacific cultures
Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney
Exhibition: 1 – 31 March 2018
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.australianmuseum.net.au for details.
Image: Dancer Francis Williams in Carriberrie – photo by Joshua Flavell ©