Griffith celebrates Wiradjuri culture with Yarruwala festival

17 September 2020

Griffith Regional Art Gallery will be taking over the old Telstra shop at Griffin Plaza from tomorrow, Friday 18 September, which will be transformed into a gallery showcasing Wiradjuri art and crafts, and an information hub for the Yarruwala Wiradjuri Cultural Festival.

The pop-up gallery features works by senior Wiradjuri artists, Veronica Collins, Cory McKenzie, Will Carter and many others, as well as demonstrations and art activities.

‘Yarruwala’ means ‘mighty’ or ‘powerful’ in Wiradjuri language and the festival aims to promote and celebrate Wiradjuri arts and culture across the Western Riverina.

Griffith City Council is working with the local Wiradjuri community, Western Riverina Arts and Burrundi Theatre to present a program of exhibitions, performances, workshops and immersive cultural events which celebrate the strength, resilience and diversity of Wiradjuri culture.

At the heart of the festival is the World Premiere of Sunshine Super Girl, by writer-director Andrea James, celebrating the life and achievements Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, presented by Griffith Regional Theatre at West End stadium from 7-10 October.

Griffith Regional Arts and Museum Manager, Raina Savage said, as well as this incredible performance the public can meet Andrea James in a free Q and A session, or pick up some tips in a story and script writing workshop.

“There will also be spectacular Welcome to Country curated by Director of Burrundi Theatre, Kerry Johnson livestreamed from the stadium grounds,” said Ms Savage.

“The Theatre is presenting free screenings of In My Blood it Runs and films by Wiradjuri film maker Mitchell Stanley – Servant or Slave – the powerful and confronting story of elderly Wiradjuri women who were forcibly removed from their families and made to work as unpaid domestic servants and Closed Doors featuring Rhimi Johnson Page.”

Communities across the region are showcasing Wiradjuri stories and culture. The festival program features Aboriginal cultural experiences including cultural tours by Wiradjuri Elders William Ingram (Leeton) and Michael Lyons (Narrandera), and art workshops by leading Wiradjuri artists – Dr Treahna Hamm, Cory McKenzie and Aunty Gail Manderson and Melanie Evans.

One of the main events of the festival is One Night on Warangesda presented by Burrundi Theatre.

Burrundi Theatre Director Kerry Johnson said Warangesda is the soulful element of the Festival, never before have we attempted to dig so deep.

“We will awaken country, and listen to its rumblings of stories past, a passage of spirit and survival,” she said.

Chairperson of the Cultural Facilities Committee, Councillor Mike Neville said he is pleased Griffith City Council can be part of this culturally significant festival.

“The Yarruwala Wiradjuri Cultural Festival will be a fantastic event and I am extremely pleased that our community have the opportunity experience it,” said Councillor Neville.

“I would encourage you to come along and be part of this incredible event.”

The full Yarruwala Festival Program is available www.yarruwalafestival.com

Sunshine Super Girl premieres on Wednesday 7 October, with public performances on 8th -10October at 7.30pm, and a matinee on Saturday 10 October at 2pm.

Tickets for Sunshine Super Girl are available through Griffith Regional Theatre www.griffithregionaltheatre.com.au or through the Box Office at on 02 6962 8444.

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