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Ali Curung festival to celebrate Indigenous culture

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Ali Curung Festival
Photo: Tennant & District Times

Since its establishment in 2008, Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre has been a cultural hub in Ali Curung, providing a safe environment for community members to keep and share their traditions and cultural heritage. 

It is a place where men and women from Warlpiri, Kaytetye, Allyawarr and Warumungu language groups can learn about each other, cooperate, and build a framework to live together harmoniously. 

By organising a cultural festival every year, Arlpwe Artists Aboriginal Corporation marks an important milestone towards the path of unification. 

It is a time when community members, service providers and visitors work together, share their skills and experience, enjoy each other’s companies, and participate in the positive change of the community. 

Coming up on 9 June, Arlpwe Artists Aboriginal Corporation will organise a brand-new edition of Artali Festival, to celebrate the Indigenous cultures of the four language groups living in Ali Curung. 

For this unique event, community members, service providers, stakeholders and volunteers have been supporting the art centre team in the organisation. 

The event will start at 8:30am with a series of cultural and digital workshops facilitated by Arlpwe art workers: bush tucker cooking, Aboriginal language classes, body painting, jewellery making, spear throwing practice. 

The public will also enjoy a special workshop on photo and video making run by PAW Media. 

A food market will be accessible in the morning, to purchase fresh vegetables grown by Alekarenge school students on a red loam plot outside of the community, with the support and guidance of the Aboriginal-owned land developer Centrefarm. 

In the afternoon, there will be a spear-throwing contest and a traditional dance performance with singers and dancers from Ampilatwatja and Tennant Creek. 

From 6pm to 8pm, the audience will enjoy an outdoor screening of Aboriginal short films followed by a concert highlighting local bands from Ali Curung and Utopia, the Desert Eagles and the New Boys. 

All day, people attending the event will be able to visit a special exhibition at Arlpwe art gallery, showcasing the local cultural heritage and its transmission to the younger generations. 

The lunch time and evening barbecue will be special gathering moments to encourage intercultural and intergenerational communication. 

To organise this event, Arlpwe artists and art workers have facilitated meetings with community members from Ali Curung, Tennant Creek and Ampilatwatja, with particular attention given to strengthening the cultural heritage in Ali curung and fostering peace and unity among the community. 

The main difficulty being the lack of strong Elders figures and the scarcity of dancers and singers able to pass on the song lines in Ali Curung, the support of the neighbouring communities was essential. 

Ali Curung residents envision a cultural festival bringing together people from all over Australia. 

It is an opportunity for people to connect with the land, to protect the Indigenous cultural heritage for the present and future generations, to share Aboriginal traditions and their meaning with the general public. The festival is funded by the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Unit of the NT Government, with support of Barkly Regional Council and the Australian Government.

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 28 May 2021.

Tennant and District Times 28 May 2021

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