Coming Together to celebrate NAIDOC in the North

Belconnen Arts Centre 2 November 2020
"Coming Together" artwork by Kristie Peters of Yarrudhamarra Creations.

Coming Together, by Kristie Peters of Yarrudhamarra Creations. is the feature artwork for NAIDOC in the North 2020. Photo: Supplied.

It is currently a challenging time to build a community festival, but the organisers of Belco Arts NAIDOC Week celebrations, NAIDOC in the North, weren’t willing to let an opportunity to celebrate and support Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community slip by.

Traditionally held as a one-day festival, with thousands of people and hundreds of hugs, connections and hands-on activities, NAIDOC in the North will look very different this year, but is still focused on building community spirit and celebrating First Nations culture in the capital.

NAIDOC in the North’s 2020 feature artwork, Coming Together, by Wiradjuri woman and founder of Yarrudhamarra Creations Kristie Peters, perfectly captures the impetus to keep connections forged through previous events alive.

“It represents coming together and connecting with people around you, celebrating and sharing what you have to give,” says Kristie of her artwork. “The U-shaped symbols represent people you cross paths with, uplifting each other’s spirits and determination in all aspects of life. The circles represent a meeting place where we all come together in our community as we support each other, building mutual respect and understanding as we continue to shape a better future.”

While we can’t come together for such a large event in person, the Share Your NAIDOC competition reminds us all that we are still celebrating as a community. Schools, early childhood centres and after-school care programs are invited to create a short video sharing the ways they are celebrating NAIDOC Week in their classrooms.

Each submission will be featured online through the NAIDOC in the North Facebook event and website, and the most creative and passionate entry will win $500 to put towards new Indigenous resources for their organisation.

Teacher and child creating artwork for NAIDOC Week.

Schools, childcare centres and after-school care centres are invited to be part of NAIDOC Week by sharing what they are doing in their classrooms. Photo: Supplied.

“We want to keep that community spirit alive and even though we can’t come together for our big event, we’re so excited to share the ways that different groups are celebrating throughout the week,” says Belco Arts’ Gungahlin programs officer Michele Grimston.

NAIDOC in the North will also present a suite of online and in-person experiences between 8-15 November, 2020, including online performances from some of Canberra’s best Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, weaving demonstrations, and intimate tours of country which offer a way of deepening our understanding of the local area and the thousands of years of culture and history that underpin it.

“We love how this just opens it up to everyone, regardless of where they are or what else they have going on in their life, to hear from these extraordinary musicians, artists and cultural knowledge holders, and immerse themselves in the experience and to learn from the stories they are sharing,” says Michele.

Richie Allan conducting smoking ceremony.

Richie Allan will lead participants on a tour of Mulligans Flat. Photo: Supplied.

Videos will be released on the NAIDOC in the North website throughout the week so people can watch at home with their family and friends.

Booking for in-person events is essential so get in quick.

To be part of NAIDOC in the North, visit Belco Arts.

NAIDOC in the North is presented by Belco Arts, ACT Child and Family Centres, ACT Education Directorate, Libraries ACT, Communities@work, Capital Region Community Service and Ginninderry.


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