This morning at 10am we all convened to hear to Aunty Evelyn Parkin welcome us to country and talk about the importance of honouring Mother Earth, and how that spirit of honouring Nature is at the very core of what LINES is about. She said, “I’m so amazed at what the artists here can create out of natural materials in the landscape… but in the end, the most amazing creation of all… is all of you.”
Visitors from as far away as Canada, Ireland, and New Orleans sat in the audience, among locals and elders of the community.
After speaking of how water is the blood of the Island and of all life, Aunty Evelyn and Mandy Blivett gave each of us a water blessing, using shells filled with water and dipping a gum tree branch in that water and shaking the water on every member of the audience. A very beautiful and moving ceremony I will never forget.
So, the question to ask is – Why do people make the effort to come all the way to North Stradbroke Island to experience an arts and environment festival like LINES?
Well, the artists come to have the wonderful chance to freely experiment with natural materials within a natural environment, and to make art that speaks about Nature, sustainability, beauty and ways to make art that aren’t driven by the market and money. There is art made here that is based within local Quandamooka peoples’ traditions and also about European/Australian/Asian traditions (among others) about form, ephemerality, the environment and maybe just about thinking, fun, joy or irreverence. What really matters is the cross-pollination of creativity — what happens when artists from so many different backgrounds come together and live and work and talk amongst like-minded creative-types. It’s amazingly stimulating and the energy has been both strong and gentle and inspiring!
The local Noonuccal and Ngugi First Peoples come to generously share and celebrate with all of us their cultural connection and immersion in the land and to place – their home, which has supported them for upwards of 40 thousand years. Despite many years of repression and injustice, they have regained their Native Title (officially as of 4 July 2011) to North Stradbroke and surrounding Islands. An amazing story of fifteen years of fighting to gain the recognition of the Australian Government to their right to have dominion and say over where they have lived for so long.
So LINES is an authentic meeting of cultures on many levels – and a place and event during which ideas, feelings, thoughts, intuitions, memories are all shared and all become a part of the consciousness of people who attend. A great way to be a human being!
And, don’t forget the influx of tourists that support the local businesses, the workshops and educational activities that broaden all of our perspectives on life here on this planet, and… fun!