Melbourne Fringe Festival’s 2020 program will continue its commitment to celebrating leading and emerging First Nations artists, with a range of boundary-pushing work taking place across platforms and cultures. The First Nations program of events will feature live music, storytelling, workshops and visual arts, including works commissioned through the Deadly Fringe program as it returns for its fourth consecutive year.
To kick-off the Festival and as part of NAIDOC week, Melbourne Fringe has partnered up with YIRRAMBOI to curate an Opening Night Party like no other, consisting of an incredible all First Nations line-up of back-to-back performance art from the likes of rapper Deejai and vocalist Breanna Lee, Arrernte drag artist Stone Motherless Cold, electro-tribal pop duo The Merindas and energetic dance floor icon DJ Soju Gang. 12 November.
Hailed as the Koori Neil Young, Brian Morley presents Songs for All Souls, a concert drawing on his life experiences of the Stolen Generation, the true history of this country, love, depression, racism, friendship, pushing societal boundaries and the fight for community inclusiveness. Accompanied by Huich Goh on violin, the special concert will be streamed online on 22 November.
RECKONING Te Waiata Paihere Wairua – The Sounds of Woven Souls is a cross cultural, multi-artform performance work fusing indigenous cultures from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Te Whēnua Moemoeā (Land of the Dreamtime) Australia. Six diverse artists – Samuel Gaskin, Candace Lorrae, Kristel Kickett (The Merindas), Piri Neho, Paula Barbee and Mahana Maihi-Taniora – combine personal stories of their ancestors with original songwriting which explores the power of connecting to their indigenous bloodlines. Recorded live at Hamer Hall and available online 24-29 November.
Deadly Fringe commission, Healing through Buliana (Pregnancy), is a striking series by Madison Connors presenting pregnancy through the eyes of an Aboriginal mother. The series comprises pregnant silhouettes illustrated with traditional symbols and markings to express the gratitude the artist has for women, their importance and power in this world. The virtual exhibition powered by Blak Dot Gallery also extends the artist’s own traumatic experience with childbirth and the journey of healing that came with her second. Exhibiting online 13-29 November.
Visual artist and Deadly Fringe recipient Rosie Kalina will exhibit a collection of self-portraits of Aboriginal women in a contemporary series titled Us. Exploring the relationship First Nations women and non-binary people have with their bodies, the series will reveal women in all their beauty, autonomy and sovereignty and will be uniquely presented like an Instagram feed. Showing online 12-29 November.
In partnership with MPavilion, Deadly Fringe project MTalks – First Nations Bodies in Colonial Spaces will feature distinguished First Nations arts practitioner and academic Paola Balla. This Deadly yarn will discuss the complexities and intersections of being a First Nations person who has a lived experience of misogyny, particularly focusing on social media. Streaming online 15 November.
Originally commissioned for Deadly Fringe in 2018, MATRIARCH will come home to the festival with a new, adapted-for-film version of the hit show. This Green Room Award-winning one-woman piece explores hardship, hope, and humour through the stories of four generations of Indigenous women. Artist Sandy Greenwood delivers a deeply heartfelt performance, illustrating the suffering and resilience of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother over 100 years. Available online 12-29 November.
Existing on Two Planes is a virtual exhibition by artists and storytellers of the Pasidika Storytellers Collective. The show offers unique contemporary First Nations and Pacific art including sculpture, print, weaving, digital multimedia and floral installation. Storytellers respond to the theme of ‘Existing on Two Planes’ – the living and the spirit planes – through readings, poetry and performance. Showing online 12-29 November.
Melbourne Fringe empowers anyone to realise their right to creative expression through the Melbourne Fringe Festival, year-round venue Fringe Common Rooms and a range of sector leadership programs. For 2.5 weeks each year, the Melbourne Fringe Festival allows audiences to discover the unexpected with art being made and created across the city in theatres, galleries, venues, public spaces, homes, studios and everywhere in between. Its open access framework means that anyone can register to be part of the Festival, bringing voices from the margins and amplifying them across the city. Melbourne Fringe believes that access to arts and creativity are fundamental rights, and encourages artistic participation through large scale public artworks, experimental children’s art, design exhibition Fringe Furniture, Fringe Common Rooms at Trades Hall and late-night Club Fringe programming. Melbourne Fringe keeps access and inclusion at its heart, actively working to remove barriers to participation and develop artists skills through First Nations commissioning program Deadly Fringe, Deaf and Disability arts programs, mentorships, workshops, residencies, forums, awards and touring support.