The Key Forum for the 2009 Garma Festival was Indigenous Creative Industries, held over August 8 - 10 at Gulkula, near Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
As I mentioned when I was speaking, I noticed some great differences at the festival since the last Creative Industries thematic in 2003, particularly the obvious lack of visual artists and dancers at the festival! (who previously participated as audience members as well). This can be put down to the limitations on lifestyle that the Northern Territory Intervention brings, with its income management restrictions and possibly also sour grapes towards a white audience supposedly celebrating Blakfella culture while tolerating separatist policy.
Also in contrast, there was a whole panel of Aboriginal New Media Artists at the 2003 Garma Festival but this year I was the only one. Granted that we appeared as a group for a special initiative of the Australia Councils New Media Arts Board (which I was a member of, but has since been disbanded) but maybe we can put it down to a lack of interest in the media arts generally? Sad but true.
The highlight for me was spending time at the Dilthan Yolgnuha Healing Place which was set up by local artist Gulumbu Yunupingu, and watching the Bush Sauna process.
the 2010 Garma Festival moves to a new site for 2010 (the mining company owns the original site now). Not only do they lose all the infrastructure built up over all those previous festivals (no mean feat in a remote community), but they will lose the Healing Place site which has so much significance, also featuring a special viewing place for wailing to the stars.
It will be interesting to see the changes.
2010 Garma Festival : 6 - 10 August; Key Forum on Indigenous Education and Training.
Photos: (bottom to top)
- the Red Flag Dancers at the Bunggul ground, opening ceremony
- the outdoor gallery, printmaking exhibition
- logo for the Healing Place
- It was nice to see that they rolled out the 1st Garma Panel that was produced in 2003
- the view from the Healing Place (featuring a great print!), looking towards the festival dining room across the gully
- a forum venue
the Healing Place http://www.healingplace.com.au/
2009 Garma Festival http://www.garma.telstra.com/2009/2009.htm
2003 Garma Festival http://www.garma.telstra.com/2003/forum2003.htm
1st Garma Panel Printmaking Project http://www.garma.telstra.com/2003/garmapanel03.htm
the wellbeing project http://www.wbp.org.au/Home.html
Stop the Intervention http://www.stoptheintervention.org/