The inaugural Giiyong Festival will bring with it a stellar line-up of Indigenous artists from all over Australia to celebrate and share culture, language, music and art.
Within the mix, a number of renowned female artists and speakers are set to empower.
Pambula singer/songwriter Chelsy Atkins always had a passion and connection with land and culture and uses this to create her songs.
“But they are more than just songs – they are my stories, my heart, the world as I see and feel it,” she said.
“And to be able to incorporate language among my tunes strengthens my soul and brings me so much joy to know I'm honoring my ancestors and sharing my culture through song.”
Ms Atkins said the Giiyong Festival will certainly showcase the power of what can be achieved when people come together.
“We will be sharing and listening to each other, accepting and honouring the past and making the most of the now, which will ensure a great future.”
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The much sought after traditional female Aboriginal dance group the Djaadjawan Dancers will present a very special women’s ceremonial performance led by Elder Vivienne Mason and her daughter Sharon Mason.
Renowned artist and curator Amanda Reynolds, who works closely in collaboration with the dancers, said the significance of having the guidance and leadership of the women elders was significant.
“It’s strengthening, it’s empowering and it’s healing for culture and country.”
Ms Reynolds said the significance of publicly performing a women’s ceremony timed in perfectly with this year’s NAIDOC theme “Because of her we can”.
Meanwhile, award-winning Indigenous poet and Yankunytjatjara woman Ali Cobby Eckermann said she was “thrilled” to be returning as a key speaker to Giiyong. Ms Eckermann was a key speaker at the Giiyong writers festival last year.
Through her highly commended poetry, Ms Eckermann writes about her first hand experiences of being part of the stolen generations as well as other issues of being Aboriginal in white Australia.
READ MORE: Festival first of its kind in Yuin Nation
She said she looked forward to sharing some of her new work written this year at a festival she described as “an antidote to the growing negative voice Indigenous Australians are subjected to and the sadness that negativity creates”.
“For me, the Giiyong Festival is an essential platform for Aboriginal people to showcase their strengths to Australia,” Ms Eckermann said.
She added she felt empowered by the strength of the Yuin people and their culture.
“Giiyong is like medicine, we respect the spiritual connection of land, and are guided by the true custodians.
“It is important to honour the relationships we build with our allies, the non-Aboriginal people who have learnt to recognise the value of our ways, without fear or prejudice.
“This is the world I believe in, when differences enhance relationships and learnings are embraced and nurtured.
“Already, in my heart, I can feel the excitement that cultural gatherings extend, a connection of the present with the past, the offering to the future.
“I believe all who attend Giiyong will be richly rewarded.”