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Darwin Festival 2021 to celebrate First Nations culture in a major way

Every year, Darwin comes alive around August time, when Darwin Festival takes over the Northern Territory capital. And this year from August 5 –22, the Festival is excited to be welcoming locals and interstate guests to celebrate some uniquely Australian art and culture.

Darwin Festival’s opening weekend of events highlights the city as the beating heart of First Nations culture in Australia and this message is being shared loud and proud as part of an exciting interstate marketing campaign to drive interstate visitation to Darwin in August.  

Whether it’s art, music or fashion, the Festival has a huge program of world-class experiences and events that shine a spotlight on the contemporary and the timeless in First Nations’ creativity. 

It all kicks off on Thursday 5 August with a huge opening night celebration. The free, open-air event will see The Amphitheatre at George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens transformed into a meeting place of dance, song and ritual with Buŋgul to open the 2021 Darwin Festival.

‘Buŋgul’ opens the 2021 Darwin Festival in celebration of all things First Nation.

Buŋgul  – Gurrumul’s Mother’s Buŋgul, Gurrumul’s Grandmother’s Buŋgul, Gurrumul’s Manikay was created on country in North East Arnhem Land with the Yunupiŋu family. It will be a huge ceremonial celebration of the legendary Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow) and will feature live performance by Yolŋu dancers, songmen and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra.

From 6 – 8 August, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair offers a chance to ethically purchase artwork direct from over 70 Indigenous-owned Art Centres, with 100% of all sales made going back to the artists and their communities. Its companion events, the annual Country to Couture textiles and fashion design showcase (3 Aug) and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (4 Aug), demonstrate exactly why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion is hot right now.

Music lovers won’t want to miss the National Indigenous Music Awards on Saturday 7 August. Celebrate the biggest names on the Australian music scene and discover up and coming talent in one mega night of music under the stars.

The Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards have been showcasing the best Australian Indigenous art from around the country for nearly 40 years. See a diverse range of work from emerging and established artists as part of the exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory or at art galleries across the city as part of Salon Art Projects’ SALON 21. These exhibitions encourage a more intimate learning experience about the artists’ culture, country and connections to both.

Says Darwin Festival CEO James Gough, “It is a privilege to highlight the breadth and depth of First Nations cultural events in the NT. Darwin is set to come alive this August as the beating heart of First Nations culture in Australia and we are proud to amplify these associated events as part of the 2021 Darwin Festival program.

“Darwin Festival prides itself on being a leading presenter of First Nations arts and culture. We are committed to supporting First Nations’ voices and artists. It is central to identity of the Festival,” said Gough.

Michael Mastess

 

Darwin Festival runs from 5 – 22 August 2021.

Early release shows will be announced early May, with full program details announced 18 June.

For more information on Darwin Festival’s First Nations showcase campaign visit: www.darwinfestival.org.au/beatingheart.

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