Most of you would know that arts and culture have been hit hard as a result of the global pandemic, with the widespread closure or postponement of events resulting in a pathological celebration-free wasteland.
NAIDOC Week, which is traditionally celebrated across Australia in July and can be traced back to the Aboriginal rights movement in the 1930s, has become yet another casualty of COVID-19 with its deferment. This year all states have postponed their celebrations of NAIDOC Week: Always Will, Always Will Be until November 8-16. The good news is Mornington Peninsula Shire will be doing a ‘soft’ celebration with some virtual events throughout July, as will Baluk Arts. Baluk Arts manager Nicole Chaffey says: “Many of the more remote centres involved in NAIDOC Week can’t travel so we have had to reimagine the delivery of NAIDOC Week celebrations.”
As have other Indigenous groups and arts organisations across the Peninsula. Frankston Arts Centre will be live streaming A Musical Reconciliation by Spirit Lines via YouTube and FAC’s Facebook page on July 9. This is the third event in the FAC Digital Series, which has made the performing arts accessible to the community while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. The Glass Cube at Cube 37 Gallery is also welcoming works from MARS Gallery that are inspired by street art and hip-hop. You can view The Black and White Series by Indigenous multimedia artist Josh Muir via the street from June 30 until August 2.
Mornington Peninsula Shire’s celebrations will also include the unveiling of the new Children’s Acknowledgement of Country, developed by the Shire’s Warringinee group, which promotes the understanding of issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. You can also contact Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association in Hastings to see what it’s up to.
How you decide to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture this July is obviously up to you. There may not be a gala dinner or an awards night to participate in, but you can still be entertained and engage, albeit remotely via the screen or through the glass while acknowledging Always Was, Always Will Be.