National Indigenous Art Fair unveils festival line-up

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Sydney: get ready for two uniquely immersive days of Indigenous art, design, food, performances and culture at the National Indigenous Art Fair, 1 – 2 July 2023, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Gadigal Land in The Rocks.

The National Indigenous Art Fair (NIAF) is back for its fourth season with a new festival program celebrating the diverse range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture from across Australia and highlighting excellence in Indigenous performance.

“The art fair and festival program are designed to welcome, educate and engage visitors. It’s an occasion to meet remote community artists and hear their stories. It’s also a time to see some incredible performances and immerse yourself in the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. We make sure there’s something there for everyone to enjoy,” said Peter Cooley, CEO of First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation, organisers of the art fair.

The NIAF provides collectors and visitors with a rare opportunity to buy ethical, authentic art directly from remote and regional artists. Each year, alongside 50 stalls representing remote Indigenous Art Centres and Blak Markets stallholders, there is a vibrant festival program which includes an Indigenous smoking ceremony, First Nations live music and dance performances, a massive and colourful communal weaving project, art workshops, panel discussions, bush tucker cooking experiences and talks, and children’s storytelling, craft and dance workshops.

Early arrivals on both mornings will be able to participate in Indigenous smoking ceremonies and join a procession into the National Indigenous Art Fair, watching as every stall is blessed and cleansed for the day ahead.

Over the two days, visitors will enjoy singing performances by Barayagal, Radical Son and Bow and Arrow. This year’s dancers are from the Djiriba Waagura Aboriginal Dance Group and Mui Mui Bumer Gedlam Dance Group from the Eastern Islands of the Torres Strait.

The Barayagal choir is an intercultural collective of 21 singers that gathers to sing songs of culture and stories at cultural events. Directed by Gamilaraay songwriter Nardi Simpson, they “sing to the place they are in and the places they all come from.”

“We’re excited to have Barayagal coming to our art fair to create the most beautiful singing and harmony in an atmospheric setting,” said Peter Cooley.

This year, the NIAF will also present a special 20-minute performance from Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation, interpreting one of the five Creation stories through movement and music from the desert of Western Australia.

Radical Son is a soul, hip hop, rapper and spoken word artist from NSW. His music is inspired and guided by his Indigenous heritage from the Kamilaroi nation of Australia and the South Pacific island of Tonga. Bow and Arrow are a contemporary First Nations electro-soul trio with Wirajurdi, Ngunawal and Gamilaraay heritage. Their music is inspired by stories from The Dreaming.

The cultural dance group Djiriba Waagura (the name means Two Crows), from the NSW South Coast, is known for providing captivating and energetic dance performances and cultural experiences that inspire connectedness. Mui Mui Bumer Gedlam Dance Group (which translates as deep sounds from home) performs traditional and contemporary Torres Strait Island dances.

For people keen on craft, there’s a chance to work alongside remote community and local Indigenous weavers on a communal weaving project, woven over the two days of the art fair. There’s also the opportunity to join a intimate paid weaving workshop with celebrated master fibre artist and painter, Regina Pilawuk Wilson of the Peppimenarti community in Northern Territory.

Larry Brandy, a proud Wirajurdi man, storyteller and author, will lead the children’s storytelling sessions over the weekend. In his energetic and interactive performances, children become kangaroos, emus and hunters as they learn how Indigenous people hunted and found food in earlier times.

Place Management NSW will also be presenting a children’s workshop on the Sunday at Cadmans Cottage Forecourt. There will be interactive dance and cultural adornment workshops for children by Jannawi Dance Clan. Meanwhile, the team from IndigiGrow will run children’s planting workshops where they mix their own soil, pot a native plant and take it home after learning how to care for it.

The 2023 NIAF will also feature cooking demonstrations of some flavourful dishes using Australian bush foods and native spices. Food trucks will deliver a delicious atmosphere, with fresh flavours from the BBQ.

“The art fair is always a great day out for people of all ages. It’s also a wonderful way to begin celebrating NAIDOC Week which is all about Indigenous culture and achievement,” said Peter Cooley.

The fourth annual art fair is presented by Sydney-based First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with the Port Authority of NSW, Destination NSW, University of Technology Sydney, Place Management NSW, the City of Sydney, Indigenous Business Australia, Nelson Meers Foundation, Mannifera Foundation, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Group, the federal government’s Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support Program and all the dynamic Aboriginal businesses who are participating in 2023.

The National Indigenous Art Fair will be held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, from 10.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday, 1 July and Sunday, 2 July 2023.

All for a gold coin donation to support remote artists attending the event. The Overseas Passenger Terminal is easily accessible by public transport and on foot from Circular Quay.

  • Event: The National Indigenous Art Fair
  • Date: Saturday 1 July – Sunday 2 July 2023
  • Time: 10.00am – 5.00pm
  • Location: Overseas Passenger Terminal, 130 Argyle St, The Rocks, Sydney
  • Entry: Entry by gold coin donation
  • Website:×200&–XMxO1e2gqbj_dZaBamTyYCZnmRvEB6dSp9C3kbj8nd7QTrEJ1B3D12ufPVDg4i86wNfVglcRcz_6eg%2CAOrYGskxXl1W6XV5phXqQyCUAL95FrpZs0Y8lbpu8wZkaWPpURlOu7-lhKREcfym9D5qTojuXZEK4KordWgYlxQhQGC1Kkg&pvsid=3065696842631266&tmod=75499318&uas=1&nvt=2&

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