Giiyong Festival – Sharing Culture at Jigamy
In September 2018 the Giiyong Festival will take place at Jigamy, just north of Eden. It will be the region’s first multi-art form festival celebrating traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture through dance, art, music, film, theatre, food, sport, workshops and cultural tours. In the lead up to the Giiyong Festival in Spring 2018, the Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu Keeping Place and the Mamadja Community Centre, both situated at Jigamy, will host a unique literary event on 1-2 July 2017.
Giiyong means ‘come to welcome’ in Dhurga, the language local to the Eden and Bega area.
Les Kosez, Land and Sea Country Co-ordinator with Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council said the word reflects what the festival will represent, ‘It’s about all people coming together, celebrating our culture and sharing experiences.’ South East Arts has received Regional Partnership funding from Create NSW to produce the festival, in partnership with Twofold Aboriginal Corporation and Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Andrew Gray, General Manager from South East Arts says the funding is a great start to the project, ‘We are off and running, the organising committee have some great ideas for the festival, which will give more visibility to the rich Aboriginal history and culture of the South East and the talented Aboriginal artists and performers living in our region’.
The Giiyong Writers’ Forum will feature an impressive gathering of leading Aboriginal authors to deliver presentations and workshops covering fiction, poetry, screen writing, play writing, blogging, publishing and traditional stories. Presenters include critically acclaimed playwright Jane Harrison, author Jared Thomas and poet Ali Cobby Eckermann, who recently won the prestigious international Windham-Campbell prize.
Jigamy is a 58 hectare property situated 9kms north of Eden. Twofold Aboriginal Corporation own the property, which houses the Monaroo Bobbaru Gadu Keeping Place, a fantastic building featuring a huge auditorium and stage, and commercial kitchen with restaurant space overlooking gum trees and the pristine Pambula Lake. The Corporation’s building, the Mamadja Community Centre has a meeting room and stunning surrounds that will also be utilised for this event.
Chris Bird is the CEO of Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, and is working toward establishing Jigamy as a leading destination in the South East for Aboriginal cultural experiences.
“Twofold Aboriginal Corporation’s board, management and staff are very excited to see the festival taking shape. Our vision is ‘to create an inclusive place where Aboriginal people of the Twofold Bay Region are proud of our heritage and are part of the local economy, and to end the cycle of poverty in our community to create a real future for our children’. This festival will assist us achieve this vision and engender pride in the strong culture that exists here. Many events have occurred at Jigamy since the 1970s. This event will really put us on the map nationally and will add to the many other reasons why people visit the Sapphire Coast,” he said.
The Giiyong Festival will be an opportunity to showcase culture and talent from all over Australia and the Torres Strait, and will be the first all-encompassing Aboriginal festival for South East NSW.
Image by Shannon Mason