Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Condo Skyfest Miima Warrabinya (Seeking the Stars) recap

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Arts OutWest was proud to be a supporting partner of Condo Skyfest Miima Warrabinya (Seeking the Stars) at the iconic Wiradjuri Study Centre 2-3 September.

By Arts OutWest communications officer Steven Cavanagh

Unfortunately, the 2020 and 2021 Condo SkyFests were cancelled because of the COVID pandemic, but this year’s event more than made up for those two lost years.

Condo SkyFest Miima Warrabinya 2022 included new ways of sharing Wiradjuri cultural identity and heritage.

The festival opened on Friday evening, September 2, with Dhuluyanha Miiya (Walking Together), an intergenerational fashion parade, the inaugural gala dinner, and previews of some of the Saturday events.

The gallery space at the Wiradjuri Study Centre was recently revamped and there’s also now an artwork hanging system on the exterior of the building so that works can be shown in the central courtyard area.

Arts OutWest was delighted to assist specifically in bringing the visual arts elements of Skyfest together.

Here’s what you were able to see on the Saturday from 2pm:

The Sistas of the Condo SistaShed meet regularly to enjoy arts and crafts activities. You could see some of their works at the SistaShed and meet some of the Sistas to learn more about Wiradjuri cultural heritage.

The large canvases in Aunty Bev Coe’s new exhibition extend the work she has been developing over the past several years to ‘re-awaken’ stories about one of the region’s most important sacred sites, Seven Sisters Ridge near Yarrabandai.

Condo artist and graphic designer Belinda Coe of Galari Creative designed this year’s beautiful SkyFest poster of the Celestial Emu over a photograph of the Milky Way by award-winning astrophotographer Niall MacNeill from Bathurst.

She borrowed the X-ray style of painting from Arnhem Land to show the emu’s internal organs.

Belinda sees her artwork as continuing her people’s connection to the sky and sky lore.

Marathon Health’s Wiradjuri Wellness Project’s Shine group meets regularly to paint, sew, yarn and relax. Their artworks celebrate good mental and physical health and positive attitudes.

The works in the Focus on the Sky: Suicide Prevention Program exhibition were by participants in workshops conducted by Condobolin artist Karen Tooth for the Suicide Prevention Program, an initiative of the Primary Health Network supported by Western Plains Regional Development, Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service and Lachlan Arts Council.

These weekly art workshops for both First Nations and non-Indigenous people were held at the Condobolin Health and Wellness Centre.

There was a Wiradjuri language workshop, boomerang throwing with Uncle Dick, Corroboree and lantern parade, women and girls’ contemporary dance choreographed by Jo Clancy, men and boys’ traditional dance, XR Space Play interactive extended reality projection, barbecue and brilliant music program across the event.

Arts OutWest is proud to be a supporting partner of Condo Skyfest.

Condo Skyfest was hosted by Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) and Big Skies Collaboration. Funding included support from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund.

A special thanks to the WCC board and staff, creative director Dr Merrill Findlay and dedicated site manager Becky Russell and stage manager Brendon Napier from ProductionArt theatre and events. Condo SkyFest Miima Warrabinya would not have been possible without you.

PICTURES: Steven Cavanagh