YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival

— by Eve Pawlik

Yirramboi | Tomorrow, photo by Eve Pawlik

Running to the North from Melbourne’s fierce arctic winds is one of many reasons why Darwin, NT is now my home. So travelling back South isn’t always top of the list, however, this time to be welcomed into Blak Lines: New Work Platform and YIRRAMBOI First Nations Arts Festival, I couldn’t get on that plane fast enough.

Performing Lines brought together Indigenous artists, venues, presenters and companies who took residence in North Melbourne’s The Stables, Weelam Ngalut from May 10 – 14 for Blak Lines. We were welcomed into a close-knit space where every detail was designed to make us feel that this was a safe space for ideas to be shared and for collaboration to brew.

15 artists / artist groups were selected to present and share work that is in development, tour ready or re-vamped and ready to roll. Presentations drew on such an array of ideas about place, voice, context, and community. This sharing of such an exciting range of new inter-disciplinary works and practice was truly galvanising.

To Know Each Other as part of Yirramboi’s Blak Out, photo by Eve Pawlik

The NT voice was represented by legend Kamahi Djordon King and Constantina Bush who stunned us with a dynamic Q&A presentation that left no stone unturned on Constantina’s flaming past and new artistic direction. It was also great to see Felix Preval, Acting Artistic Director of Darwin Festival, who threw himself into the program like the rest of us!

Each day of presentations and talks from Blak Lines: New Work Platform was aligned with the diversity of YIRRAMBOI shows and exhibitions day and night. Mariaa Randall’s Divercity and the Stiff Gin’s Spirit of Things: The Sound of Objects were two shows that truly blew me away and I hope to see visit the NT. Melbourne truly had its taste of a Blak Out on the Saturday 14 May where the CBD and surrounds were activated by theatre, dance, music and performing arts pieces by First Nations artists.

Crackers and Dip with Chase as part of Yirramboi’s Blak Out, photo by Eve Pawlik

YIRRAMBOI , meaning tomorrow in both Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung languages, rings true when reflecting on the festival and platform. There was an almost palpable sense of collective energy and inspiration that will easily lead us into a tomorrow that better represents all aspects of our community.

See the magic of the platform and the people who made that space so special.