National Reconciliation Week – Story, song and Jessie Lloyd

Monday 29 May 2017 at 11am, Wallaroo Community House, 6 Wallaroo Place Hastings West

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As part of 2017 National Reconciliation Week, Indigenous musician Jessie Lloyd gathered with local people from the Mornington Peninsula area to share true-to-life stories and heartfelt songs. These stories and songs are from her Mission Songs Project. The Project has taken Jessie to different parts of Australia to meet Indigenous Australians who were affected by Christian missions, state-run camps and relocation. As part of the Project, Jessie collects songs that Indigenous Australians have written and sung depicting their mission experiences. Through sharing songs from the Mission Songs Project and encouraging others to do the same, Jessie aims to preserve and pass on this precious cultural practise and in doing so, shed light on the history of Indigenous families, elders and communities.

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Jessie’s warmth of spirit and openness with which she shared the knowledge and stories of her family delighted each of the 40-odd people who attended this unique and inspiring event. Jessie’s impact was immediate, as many people went away humming a tune before enjoying the delicious lunch provided. Adding to the atmosphere of warmth and sharing was the enthusiastic address and attendance by the Good Shepherd staff who organised the event, and the friendliness and hospitality of the volunteers at Wallaroo Community House who hosted the event.

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Jessie Lloyd’s visit was inspiring for our local community, bringing people together in the spirit of reconciliation. What is more, recognising the historical experiences of Indigenous people through music fosters the healing that will unite the people of Australia towards a better, fairer future.

For more information on 2017 National Reconciliation Week and events near you visit reconciliation.org.au/nrw

Visit the Balnarring Hall on Friday 2 June at 7:30pm for a free film event hosted by Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association. Prison Songs, a groundbreaking documentary that gives voice to Indigenous Australians behind bars – through song.

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Copyright © 2017 Jade Barker

 

White mural delights Hastings residents

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In the Mornington Peninsula seaside town of Hastings, artist Simon White has charmed community residents with his beautiful new mural depicting scenes from the town’s history. The mural is the latest in a series of public art pieces created in this location since April 2014 as part of the ‘Adopt-A-Hotspot’ project, aiming to “prevent and reduce the incidents of graffiti and property damage in the Hastings community”.

This ‘Hotspot’, turned public art space, is a walkway between the Woolworths carpark and Main Street, beautifying the external wall of Terry White Chemist.

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The mural is made up of seven maritime scenes, separated by angular lines. Each one focuses on people, places, animals and boats that are key icons of Hastings’ heritage.

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These include the Mirabella family who arrived in Hastings in 1880; the Lothian family from c. 1890; Hastings Fish Shed built in 1866 and restored by John Wooley in 1988, accompanied by resident pelicans; a family in a fishing boat with dolphins swimming beneath the water; Jack Sheehan and his fishing boats; young people in swimming attire at Hastings foreshore c. 1907; and a scene of a fishing family building a wooden boat with one man proudly holding up the catch of the day.

This wonderful project was initiated by Councillor David Garnock in 2014 and continues to be supported by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (MPSC), Westernport Chamber of Commerce, Sheldon Headspeath, Brett Cardwell and Hastings Police.

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This project not only prevents property damage but enriches the cultural landscape of the area, contributes to wellbeing and gives all members of the community free access to the joy of art. As I was taking photos of the mural, several residents stopped to tell me how much pleasure the mural gives them as they walk through their town. Supporting the ‘Hotspot’ project indefinitely, as part of the Shire’s Cultural Strategy, will not only delight the community, but build a legacy of public art and historical acknowledgement in Hastings both present and future.

Copyright © 2017 Jade Barker

‘Inspired’ by Gary Lang NT Dance Company

Saturday 3 September 7:30pm at Cube 37, Frankston Arts Centre – 50 min. duration.

Gary Lang NT Dance Company, with dancers Catherine Young, Michele Dott, Bryn Wackett, Kara Handsberg and Darren Edwards, delighted a ‘family’ audience with two contemporary dance pieces. The first was an airy flirtation with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and the second, an earthy Indigenous exploration of the spirit realm.

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The synthesised music recording of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with overlaid NT bird sounds in the first dance piece induced a wide, open-sky atmosphere reminiscent of the outback Australian landscape. The performers used classical dance influences with synchronised movements and black lace and tulle costumes to accentuate delicate swan-like gestures.

The second piece immediately exuded a transformation into a ghostly realm with the use of vivid lighting and dark shadows, gaunt expressions and the use of white, liquid body-clay. The wet clay was ‘dipped into’ throughout the piece to increasingly cover each other until the dancers and the stage were practically white. Entitled Journey of the Soul from a larger work, Mokuy, the piece expressed the post-death journey of the human spirit, drawing upon Gary Lang’s experiences with youth suicide in his community.

Digeridoo-like drones articulated with haunting Australian bird calls drew the audience into the earthy, sensuous dance movements. I was particularly stirred by the male-female duets in which each female dancer took turns intertwining with the male ‘spirit’ dancer.

The performance was followed by a Q&A session in which Gary, who identifies as a Larrakia man, explained that several of the movements used in Journey of the Soul are borrowed from traditional Indigenous dances that he has seen performed by his family. As these ‘borrowed’ movements are intensely meaningful to Indigenous people, Gary takes great care to ask the permission of his family as to how and when particular gestures can be used. Gary’s conversation with the audience, in which he declared that all people he meets are welcomed into his life as ‘family’, encouraged a feeling of connectedness to the Dance Company, our country and our communities. Gary Lang NT Dance Company’s performance of Inspired is a fine example of art that is not only uplifting, beautiful and expressive but encourages social unity by fostering warmth and openness between different cultures.

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Cube 37 – your community, your creativity

Have you ever wandered down Davey Street and passed the Frankston Arts Centre? Perhaps you have visited the Centre to see a show? If the answer is “yes”, you may have noticed a smaller building right next door with a big, intriguing glass front and a sign that says Cube 37.

Cube 37 is a place where all members of our community – artists, art-lovers and art-curious people – can go to enjoy art, participate in art and create art.

There is a well-equipped, versatile performance space that can be hired out so that artists and community groups can put on their own shows and events.

Wooden, sprung floors for theatre and dance, and high-quality audio and lighting gear enables every show to be presented professionally.

A tiered seating system can be set-up to accommodate an audience of 194 or discreetly packed away for cabaret and other events where a large floor space is needed.

There is even a kitchen and bar area for pre-show drinks, backstage dressing rooms, an education room equipped with a projection screen and a large, outdoor courtyard.

World-class artists perform here regularly, often to sell-out audiences. You don’t need to be a professional artist to hire or visit Cube 37 though – just someone who is passionate about community arts, like we are! Community groups even receive a discounted hire fee.

The diversity of activities that occurred during a recent day in Cube 37 included the Gary Lang NT Dance Company rehearsing in the performance space, Karingal Training providing an education course in the labs and Dangerous Deeds exhibition opening in the foyer.

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If you are someone who would like to participate in art, you are in luck! Cube 37 is home to a diverse and dazzling array of hands-on programs specifically tailored to community and school groups. There’s the Hip Cat Circus teaching circus skills to young people, and an exciting range of educational programs are available for school students. Depending on the season, there are workshops in craft, dance, bookmaking, storytelling and make-your-own artworks for people of all ages and abilities. This is just a taste of the broad range of workshops on offer.

For those who enjoy visual art or create it themselves, there are two art-spaces in Cube 37. The foyer displays free exhibitions all year round. The glass art space at the front of Cube 37, visible 24/7 to passers-by and motorists, allows artists the scope to create interactive, digital and projected artworks, as well as installations.

If you are enticed at the thought of perusing the latest visual art exhibition or displaying your own, building an artistic creation amongst like-minded people, seeing an exciting show or performing your own, visit Cube 37. It is a place where all members of our community can come together, develop skills and have fun through art. Cube 37 – your community, your creativity.

Check out the latest What’s On booklet from the foyer of Frankston Arts Centre or Cube 37, or visit the website for more information: thefac.com.au

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Visit Frankston Arts Centre!

Frankston Arts Centre (FAC) is your local venue to see and participate in performing and visual arts. With 812 performances in the past year, the calendar is packed full of exciting events to suit everyone.

FAC operates from two buildings on Davey Street Frankston: The big green building above Frankston Library and Cube 37 right next door.

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The Main Theatre seats 800 people and attracts big-name performing arts companies including Bell Shakespeare, Australian Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Circus Oz who perform at FAC on their regional tours each year. The brand new bar offers a great selection of pre-show and interval refreshments, as well as providing a priority line for members. It is also the perfect venue for schools to hire for annual performances.

The 194-seat, flexible performance space in Cube 37 sets the stage for intimate music, dance, circus and community performances. Cube 37 is your art space, offering a discounted hire rate for community groups. It is the place to indulge your artistic creativity, whatever your ability, and is home to an impressive range of art, theatre and circus workshops, including programs tailored to school students and children. This is your invitation to get involved!

FAC has visual art exhibition spaces in the foyer areas of both Cube 37 and the Main Theatre. With 73 exhibitions being shown in the past year, there is always something new and exciting on, and entry is free.

The function centre is well set-up for corporate events and private functions, catering for up to 500 people. It is also close to public transport and has an underground car park with 270 spaces.

FAC was designed by renowned Australian architect, Daryl Jackson, and was opened in 1995 by then Prime Minister, Hon. Paul Keating.

Visit the website for more information: thefac.com.au

FAC Facts

  • 152,000 visitors annually
  • 812 performances, 541 events, 73 exhibitions, 20 workshops each year
  • Audience: 36% Frankston residents, 64% Mornington Peninsula, Bayside, Ringwood and Gippsland
  • Part of Frankston City Council and operates under the Frankston Art Strategy 2011-2015
  • 39831 Check-ins on Facebook with 6474 ‘Likes

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker

Welcomed by FAC

Recently I spent several weeks doing Professional Development (PD) in Arts Administration at the Frankston Arts Centre (FAC). There my writing skills were utilised in a way that intertwined with my artistic knowledge and experience. From this, I have been inspired to create an online space to share my arts writing.

The first few posts are articles about the FAC performance spaces and programs, my PD experience in light of my job as a Navy musician and a review of Inspired, the NT Dance Company show I saw while at FAC.

Future posts will be about performances,  local venues and exhibitions in my community. That said, I will be on the lookout for interesting local art to write about!

Staff from the FAC management team

Copyright © 2016 Jade Barker