MEETING OF MINDS: Frances Rings (left), Djon Mundine and Rhoda Roberts are involved in Bundjalung project The Gathering, in conjunction with NORPA.
MEETING OF MINDS: Frances Rings (left), Djon Mundine and Rhoda Roberts are involved in Bundjalung project The Gathering, in conjunction with NORPA. Cathy Adams

Sharing story of a culture through NORPA project

BUNDJALUNG artists and performers involved in NORPA's Bundjalung Nghari: The Gathering project met for the first time yesterday.

The group began the first stage of NORPA's ambitious three-year project that will attempt to share Bundjalung culture and stories with the Northern Rivers community through a series of consultations, workshops and a final work that will premiere in NORPA's 2015 season.

NORPA's artistic director Julian Louis, who met with Boomerang Festival director Rhoda Roberts, Frances Rings and Djon Mundine yesterday, said the brainstorming session was the starting point to a project whose ultimate incarnation was "unknown".

"Today is really a meet and greet so we can see that we're all on the same page," Mr Louis said.

"We all come from different places and we're looking to start finding inspiration for the project, but that can come in different ways for each individual."

Ms Roberts said The Gathering was a way to engage with the local community and would promote a sense of "well-being" for all involved.

"When people know where they belong and have a spirit of place, they can turn disadvantage into advantage," she said.

"We (indigenous people) are always being told about negative statistics that set us up to fail.

"But we're not at a disadvantage.

"We have what the world wants to know and that's our culture and our stories," she said.

Ms Roberts said the privilege of being part of the oldest living culture was the ability to adapt.

"We have the religious side and we have our culture but we also have the ability to adapt and because Aboriginal culture is holistic, you can't divorce one part from the other," she said.

The Gathering would bring together the community and encourage young and old people to become empowered, according to Ms Roberts.

"We'll see culture as an advantage. A project like this will mould individual talents to tell those stories," she said.

The public can consult with Bundjalung Nghari: The Gathering artists on Friday at 5.30pm at NORPA at Lismore City Hall.


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