Festival to light up gardens

November 21, 2017

The Shields artists Earl Handy, Angie Russi, Troy Firebrace, Aunty Vera Cooper and Three Rivers Festival director Clayton Murray Mitchell.

Shepparton Yorta Yorta artist Jack Anselmi puts finishing touches on the rainbow serpent's head.

Yorta Yorta artist Troy Firebrace works on the rainbow serpent.

A special project will light up Echuca-Moama botanical gardens at the Three Rivers Festival on November 25.

The inaugural Dhungalla Kaiella Garradha (Goulburn Murray Rivers Dance Ceremony) will celebrate traditional Yorta Yorta stories, place, spirit and ancient ceremonial practices with a deadly sunset corroboree to close this year’s festival.

Following this, there will be a special concert featuring Archie Roach, indigenous hip hop projects, Maddi Colville Walker and more.

Leading up to the corroboree, six Aboriginal artists from Shepparton’s Kaiela Arts and Echuca have been collaborating to create elements for the performance space including ephemeral light sculptures and sand design.

Kaiela Arts artist Troy Firebrace said the group had been working to create a 14m rainbow serpent and a 3m shield which the dances would hold during the performance.

Mr Firebrace said the project had been an excellent experience and it was enjoyable to use different materials such as cane in creating the rainbow serpent and shield.

‘‘Probably the biggest challenge is working with this new material,’’ he said.

Despite this, the artists have embraced the challenge and are putting the finishing touches on the art pieces.

The Three Rivers Festival is an annual community event held on Yorta Yorta woka (country) engaging people through the love of touch football, music, art and Aboriginal culture.

This is the fourth year the festival has taken place and its theme is: I stand strong for health and culture.

This year the festival has partnered with Multicultural Arts Victoria and Gallery Kaiela to deliver Dhungalla Kaiella Garradha.

Three Rivers Festival manager and founder Clayton Murray Mitchell said Dhungalla Kaiella Garradha gave Aboriginal people the chance to connect, express, heal and inspire.

‘‘I feel as though this is not just a job but a responsibility to be able to provide our kids an experience to get up under the stars and dance in the footsteps of their ancestors,’’ he said.

Multicultural Arts Victoria chief executive officer Jill Morgan said they hoped to learn from and create greater awareness and understanding of Australia’s first people through artists and the community sharing their stories through dance, theatre, song, visual arts and other art forms.

‘‘The Dhungalla Kaiella Garradha project will see MAV collaborating with Aboriginal artists and organisations in regional Victoria and NSW for the first time, challenging and inspiring us all towards building a future together,’’ she said.

The Dhungalla Kaiella Garradha will be held at the Three Rivers Festival on Saturday from 5pm to 8.30pm at Echuca-Moama botanical gardens.

For information about The Three Rivers Festival, visit www.threeriversfestival.org

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