The Australia Council for the Arts has enlisted one of Indigenous Australia’s most respected artistic directors, Rhoda Roberts, to produce the gifting ceremony of the Australian Indigenous Art Commission (AIAC) at the new MusÈe du quai Branly in Paris on 23 June.
The performance will honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connection to country; celebrate the vibrancy and continuity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions; and pay respects to the artists who have imparted their knowledge and culture to the commission.
It will present a cast of female and male dancers, songmen and musicians chosen to represent the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. From saltwater, freshwater, long grass to plain country the processional ceremony will feature the diverse styles of Indigenous Australia’s dancing, ritual and celebration – from traditional to contemporary.
Rhoda Roberts said: ‘I am extremely proud to be involved in a project that presents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture as the oldest living, adapting culture in the world.
‘The opening of the Australian Indigenous Art Commission in Paris is an extremely important occasion as it provides Indigenous Australia with a unique platform on which to present the depth, history and continuity of our art, spirituality and cultural importance.
‘I have sought to provide Parisians and guests at the ceremony with an art experience that reflects our ancient footsteps, as well as our enduring heritage, with a voice relevant to today’s society.’
Performers include Djakapurra Munnyarryun (Munyarryun clan – north-east Arnhem Land), former dancer and cultural consultant with Bangarra Dance Theatre; Mathew Doyle (Wiradjiri/NSW); Clarence Slockee (Mindjingabal clan/Bundjalung) Dujon Nuie and the Moa Island Dancers (Torres Strait Islands); Peggy Missi (Torres Strait); Rita Pride (Torres Strait); Peta Strachan (Dhurag/Burruberongal clan/NSW) and Rachael Walls (SA); and acclaimed singers Emma Donovan (Gumbayngirri) and Anthony Green (NSW).
Rhoda Roberts is also the artistic director of the Dreaming – Australia’s International Indigenous Festival, 9–12 June.