First Nations stories and culture will be front and centre at the spectacular Calling Country show at 9pm for Sydney New Year’s Eve.
Crowds can expect a stunning fireworks display inspired by the sky, land and sea set to a unique soundtrack. The program also includes pylon projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, live music and dance performances, and a message stick presentation ceremony.
This year’s 9pm show is put together by artists Carmen Glynn-Braun and Dennis Golding. The duo form the Re-Right Collective and focus on stories that heal and strengthen First Nations voices, history and experiences.
“First Nations storytellers will celebrate local histories and contemporary experiences through art, song, sound and dance,” Dennis Golding from Re-Right Collective said.
“While we honour the histories of our First Peoples of this Country, we recognise the strength and resilience that also exists in our First Nations youth, who lead us into the future.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City of Sydney is committed to celebrating First Nations stories in the public domain.
“This year’s talented artists have created music, visual art and performances that celebrate Sydney’s rich First Nations identity and people, and the glorious land and ocean that surrounds us,” the Lord Mayor said.
“The City is committed to increasing recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage in the public domain, and New Year’s Eve provides the opportunity to do so loudly and proudly in front a global audience.”
Smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country
Tribal Warrior will conduct a smoking ceremony on Sydney Harbour at 7.30pm. The ceremony is a ritual of purification and unity, cleansing the space for the new year.
Two Elders from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council will welcome visitors to Gadigal Country just before 9pm.
Calling Country 9pm fireworks display
Spectators on the harbour and at home will be dazzled by the Calling Country 9pm fireworks display inspired by sky, land and sea.
Crackers representing clear blue skies, twinkling stars, sunburnt florals and ocean creatures will erupt over the harbour. The event also features a showstopping firework waterfall off the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections
Gadigal artist Nadeena Dixon’s projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge highlight the story of Gadigal fisherwomen with illustrations of land, water, marine life and figures of her ancestors.
Emerging artist Carmen Glynn-Braun stems from the Arrernte, Kaytetye and Anmatyerr nations across Central Australia. Her projected artworks feature the moon as a symbol of connection to Country indicating time, seasons, fertility and new beginnings.
Dennis Golding is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist from the north-west of NSW. Born and raised in Sydney, Dennis dreamed of being a superhero. His series designed for the pylons recognises the strength of Aboriginal cultural identity through a superhero cape motif. The kangaroos celebrate this land’s First Peoples who have always cared for Country.
More than 100 budding young First Nations artists from schools across Sydney have also designed superhero capes, and animators have brought to life elements of their artworks for the final pylon projections.
Calling Country 9pm soundtrack
An original soundtrack produced by Kombumerri sound artist Rowan Savage (also known as Salllvage) will accompany the display. Rowan uses recordings of animals and water collected on Gadigal Country alongside a song in language by Nadeena Dixon about fisherwomen who lived and gathered food on Sydney Harbour.
Calling Country Live performance
Gomeroi hip hop artist and rapper Kobie Dee and Gadigal singer-songwriter Akala Newman will perform a new track live on the night. The track explores their connection to Country and highlights the strength and resilience of First Nations people. Dancers from Brolga Dance Academy will also perform.
Message stick presentation
Lord Mayor Clover Moore will be presented with a message stick created especially for Sydney New Year’s Eve as part of the live performance.
Celebrations and performances will continue into the night culminating in an unforgettable midnight fireworks show.