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Our Creator by Zeniah Dhurrkay.
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NAIDOC Week

Held nationally each year in the first week of July, NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week is a time for everyone to celebrate and show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders cultures.

NAIDOC Week 2017

Flag Raising Ceremony

On Monday 03 July, NAIDOC Week celebrations commenced in the City of Gosnells with the annual Flag Raising Ceremony featuring cultural performances, live music, traditional food, Aboriginal art exhibition and the raising of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags. 

Hundreds of residents attended the official launch of NAIDOC Week at the Gosnells Civic Centre with the 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter aiming to emphasise and celebrate the unique role which indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites through story and song.

The ceremony featured a Welcome to Country by Sandra Harben, special guest speaker Australian Rules champion mid-fielder Footballer and former Hawthorn player Chance Bateman followed by a dance performance by Aboriginal dance group Mungart Yongah. The Ceremony concluded with live music from singer songwriter Hachi- City of Gosnells SoundLab Music crew members.

It is estimated that approximately 350 people attended this year’s event, with the number of attendees increasing each year. 

Flag raising at NAIDOC Week Cultural performance at NAIDOC Week Performers at NAIDOC Week

Paint Storm

Combining art, music and performance, Phil Doncan’s Paint Storm provided a hands-on interactive workshop at the Don Russel Performing Arts Centre Tuesday 04 July. This was the only costed event throughout NAIDOC Week Celebrations and 70 tickets were sold. Paint storm reinforced values such as care and respect, harmony and diversity, resilience and friendship. The morning workshop was sold out with around 25 kids participating in the dance studio. Phil Doncon painted a NAIDOC week painting of an indigenous person’s face which he gifted to DRPAC. The media coverage for this event was fantastic with Paint storm advertised on the front page of the Examiner News. The event was enjoyed by all who participated.  

Traditional Dot Painting Workshop

Artist Jade Dolman Penangke ran a creative dot painting workshop at Thornlie Leisure World. This workshop was fully booked with 24 attendees and had a waitlist of over 15. Jade also spoke on the history of Aboriginal dot painting, identifying symbols, a bit of noongar language and pronunciation and her own story of culture. The workshop was engaging and participants learnt about the history of Aboriginal Symbols and created their own personal Dot Painting artworks on canvas.

NAIDOC Sports Play

On Thursday 7 July, City of Gosnells Children’s Services partnered with Brookman Child and Parent Centre to run Sports Play for NAIDOC Week at Brookman Primary School in Langford as a part of the School Holiday Park Play program. As well as the regular games, arts, crafts and toys, activities included versions of traditional indigenous games, such as, Wana and Boorna Jokee and more common sports, such as, tennis, soccer and footy. Over 50 parents, grandparents and children of all ages attended the event who, who despite the cold weather and rain, all enjoyed the event.

NAIDOC Arts Play

On Friday 8 July, City of Gosnells Children’s Services partnered with Gosnells Child and Parent Centre to run Art Play for NAIDOC Week at Richard Rushton Community Centre in Gosnells as a part of the School Holiday Park Play program. Urban Indigenous also came along and did some face painting and helped to create a beautiful community art piece made by the children. Additional art activities included, rock drawing, play dough and painting curly snakes. Approx. 180 children and adults attended this event and all feedback was positive!

NAIDOC Week Art Exhibition

An Aboriginal art exhibition showcasing the works of local Aboriginal artists from Langford Aboriginal Association Art and Yarning Group, was installed in three locations, the Civic Centre function room presented all art pieces and then a selection of these pieces were installed at Amherst Village Library arts nook and the foyer of the administration building.

There was a total of 56 art pieces in total with ten pieces being sold. Positive feedback was received from the Langford Aboriginal Association Arts and Yarning artists who were very happy with selling ten pieces. Several of the art pieces sold were created by younger artists. Positive feedback was also received from staff and attendees of all three art exhibitions during the week.

Aboriginal Storytelling Sessions

A number of Aboriginal storytelling sessions were held throughout the week at the City of Gosnells Libraries, where local Aboriginal Elder Elizabeth Hayden shared her stories about Noongar country and language.

Liz Hayden who covered Amherst Village Library with 32 parents/children in the house.  Thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended, captivated by her life story and full of Q & A of which she covered nicely.  A fully engaged and grateful bunch of people from all ethnicities.  Liz also covered the Knowledge Centre with 27 parents/children in attendance, again another lot of people who were enthralled with her story-telling and her genuine, warm and soft approach.

Sandra Harben spell-bound the enthralled audience of 23 parents and kids at Kenwick Library – sharing the Dreaming story of the Seven Sisters a group of stars we call Pleaides visible in the night sky in both the Southern and Northern Hemispheres but to the Australian Aboriginal people they are a part of their dreaming.  Very strong speaker who truly left her mark on those who attended.

LAA Community Breakfast

This year LAA contributed to NAIDOC week with the contribution to City of Gosnells libraries of an Elder to tell stories and life experience to community members (both adults and children).  As languages are integral to Aboriginal life, the theme was most appropriate to pass on and to implement a holistic approach of cultural knowledge sharing.  LAA also supplied artwork to the annual City of Gosnells Art Exhibition to sell and promote during NAIDOC Week at both the City offices and at Amherst Art Nook.  Sharing visual stories is also important to knowledge and language being utilised to describe art pieces.  The LAA annual breakfast was a huge success with approximately 150 people attending.  The Welcome to Country by Dr Richard Walley OAM and his storytelling was very well received and everyone would have loved more during his session.  The LAA Men’s Shed was also launched and with a smoking ceremony performed by Richard and his son Alton to cleanse the shed of any bad spirits and to have a clean future for the men to utilize in the future.  

For more information contact the City’s Community Development Team on 9397 3121 or email.

Artwork: Our Creator by Zeniah Dhurrkay. 

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