Significant Rites 2016

A project initiated by Arts Nexus in partnership with the Cairns And Regional Multicultural Association that;

  • provided artistic and cultural exchange opportunities
  • supported collaborations between new and emerging communities and Australia’s First Nation People
  • created opportunities for people to work together
  • with mainstream artists, professional organisations in theatre, visual arts, music and dance.

SIGNIFICANT RITES project provided opportunities for new (emerging) migrant communities, especially those newly arrived through the humanitarian resettlement programs to connect with other Cairns based cultural groups that share similar values and priorities around cultural preservation and the strengthening of inter-generational relationships through collaborative sharing and exchange of ideas and experiences throughout the process of developing presentations or creating new work.

Communities actively maintain their culture and art forms, but often in isolation of each other due to limited or no access to community shared spaces. Artists from these new arrival communities are also dealing with cultural change. Inter-racial second generation young people have separate issues and need to connect with the culture of the parent/s homeland.

SIGNIFICANT RITES addressed access and equity issues in the Cairns region that contribute to limited community and cultural development opportunities for practicing or aspiring multicultural artists and cultural producers.

As a result of funding awarded to Arts Nexus from the State government through Arts Queensland, SIGNIFICANT RITES commenced meetings June 2014 and culminated in an exhibition and performances throughout September. The program encouraged and supported Cultural Educators and Producers from new and emerging refugee communities that create traditional and contemporary arts forms, cultural practices and creative initiatives. Cultural, creative exchanges will be achieved through professional skills development, cross-art form and multicultural art practice, cross-cultural and bi-cultural explorations by;

  • creating pathways for further development
  • facilitate mentoring relationships with Cairns based, professional artists
  • expanding access to production spaces

Community partnerships represented include;

  • Government and non-Government agencies,
  • Members of newly arrived communities that have practiced their art form and cultural expression prior to their arrival in Cairns,
  • Professional multicultural and Indigenous cultural producers and artists

Participants were targeted from;

  • the nations of Bhutan, Myanmar, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi
  • Visual artists, dancers, storytellers, cultural educators, contemporary and traditional arts and crafts producers and musicians
  • Artists and performers from Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, South Sea Islander, Pacific Islander including PNG and other cultural groups
  • Other New and Emerging Communities – Indonesian, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese, Hmong and Kerala (South Indian) communities.

Through this partnership with CARMA, Arts Nexus, Canopy Arts and CfAT we were able to;

  • Recruit and support Artists that have a high calibre of artistic skill and cultural knowledge retained from the homeland to work with established professional artists
  • Coordinate a workshop program in various art forms that promotes and enables participants from the new communities
  • Produce a performance element that will be included in the program at the Tropical Wave Festival on the 20 September and Hibiscus Ball on the 20 August
  • Facilitate an evaluation process and produce a report that will support the ongoing sustainability of the creative partnerships formed during SIGNIFICANT RITES
  • Engage professional artists from within the migrant community wherever possible
  • Produced an exhibition opening on Friday 26th September and closing on the 6th October.

SIGNIFICANT RITES is an important project that showcased the capacity of Arts Nexus to contribute to the Community Cultural Development of the region. It will also be important to work in close partnership with a few key organisations in the region that support new and emerging migrant and refugee communities, to find pathways for their personal creative and cultural expression.   We are very excited about the opportunity to work in close partnership with CARMA and their members and look forward to finding ways in the future to continue to do so.

In partnership with: Arts Queensland, Cairns and Region Multicultural Association, Cairns Regional Council, Canopy Art Centre, Centre for Australasian Theatre, Cairns Diversity Week, Tropical Wave Festival and the Hibiscus Ball.