NAIDOC Week is officially celebrated nationally in the first full week of July, but like many communities across the country, the Cessnock local government area program has spilled over into June and August.
Activities in June included the sell-out ‘Stolen’ at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, a series of art workshops for young people and their families and the biannual Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation’s NAIDOC Week Awards Night.
Don’t worry if you missed out, get a hold of a program, there’s still plenty to get involved in, with the celebrations running to August 12.
This year’s theme is ‘Because of Her, We Can’ and is all about recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
The theme shines a light on the role Indigenous women play in our communities and families, and celebrates their achievements, many of which have been overlooked and forgotten.
Kiray Putjung chair Susan Mulyk said the 2018 theme celebrates the invaluable contribution Aboriginal women have made at all levels in society, culturally and politically.
“Strong Aboriginal women are achieving in law, education, politics, health, the arts and in the fight for equal rights all while nurturing and raising the next generation of leaders,” Ms Mulyk said.
The local community has embraced this year’s theme and several special NAIDOC Week art projects have joined together for the first NAIDOC Week Art Trail.
This is a partnership between Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, Cessnock City Council, CYCOS, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock Libraries and Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre, and is an exciting new addition to the program, and one that will hopefully continue.
The artworks on display include ‘Gathering Stories’, an exhibition of portraits of inspirational women by artists including Lesley Salem, Saretta Fielding, Tamika Elvin and Aunty Cynthia.
The exhibition can be viewed from Friday, July 6 and there will be an opening on Saturday, July 14 at 5pm at the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery.
Aboriginal Education Team (AET) public school students from the Mighty Eagles AET(Bellbird), Moani AET (Cessnock West), Kuluwayn AET (Kearsley), The Mighty Burras AET (Kurri Kurri) and Kuwaykuwatka AET (Millfield) are exhibiting individual and collaborative artworks and artefacts inspired by this year’s theme.
Artworks produced through the CYCOS art workshops for young people and their families, led by talented Wonnarua artists Lesley Salem and Madeline Jackman, will also be on show.
The exhibition spaces include the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, the Les Elvin Kungera Gallery at the Hunter Valley Visitor Information Centre, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock Libraries, and the council administration building.
If you haven’t got plans for Saturday, July 7, head along to TAFE Park for the annual Kiray Putjung Aboriginal Corporation NAIDOC family fun day.
There will be a flag raising ceremony starting at 10am, then a procession will leave the park for a street parade along Vincent Street, before returning for a wonderful day of music, culture, food and activities.
If you’re all booked up Saturday not to worry, we’ve got you covered. On Tuesday, July 10 Barkuma’s NAIDOC Family Fun Day is on at its new location in Sawyers Gully. Don’t miss the absolutely delicious bush tucker sausage sizzle!
Cessnock and Kurri Kurri libraries have a huge program this year including a fascinating talk on the Aboriginal cultural history of Wollombi, workshops in art, basket weaving and family history, a native plant giveaway, a local language exhibition ‘Wonnarua Words’ and a performance from Stanford Merthyr Infant School Boys Dance Group.
NAIDOC Week is a whole of community celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, art, music and people and is a key event for the city of Cessnock.
Everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, is invited join in and celebrate our community.
So if you haven’t been to NAIDOC Week celebrations before, this year you’re encouraged to come and participate.
Programs are available at Cessnock City Libraries, Council Administration Building and online at www.cessnock.nsw.gov.au/NAIDOCWeek.
Cessnock City Council would also like to acknowledge the support of Aboriginal Affairs NSW.