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Kickin’ up dust

Date: Mon 28 Feb 2005 - Fri 18 Mar 2005

Time:Inauguration: Mon 28 Feb 2005 at 12:00 AM

Venue:Bengal Shilpalaya

Dear Sir/Madam Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts requests the pleasure of your company at the inaugural ceremony of a photography exhibition on Australian Contemporary Indigenous Cultural Festivals entitled Kickin' up dust beginning on Monday 28 February 2005. The show has been organized in collaboration with the Australian High Commission in Bangladesh. Begum Selima Rahman, Hon'ble State Minister, Ministry of Cultural Affairs will grace the occasion as Chief Guest while H.E Ms. Lorraine Barker, High Commissioner of Australia in Bangladesh, will be present as Special Guest. Eminent photographer and botanist Dr. Noazesh Ahmed will attend the ceremony as the Guest of Honour.

Throughout mainland Australia and the Torres Strait Island that lie to the north, there was, and is, a wide diversity within the indigenous population. Within Aboriginal culture there are over 200 different language groups. In the Torres Strait 17 to 34 islands are inhabited, and each has distinct cultural affiliations and clan groups that have specific ways of celebrating their culture. Today Indigenous Australia is a thriving culture, utilizing traditional and contemporary materials to reiterate their connection to country and community, whether in the role of indigenous festivals and give a glimpse of the cultural activities and events. The indigenous people of Australia have never been an homogenous group; the social organization, spiritual beliefs and cultural traditions of the myriad communication are as diverse and complex as the land in which they live. Oral histories and spiritual traditions are handed down through generations, in stories, songs, dances, and ceremonies both public and sacred/secret. Cultural festivals demonstrate the importance of keeping culture alive through songs, dances and stories. The ancient traditions and rich ceremonial life are still practiced throughout Australia by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. Spectacular expressions of culture survival are undergoing an unprecedented efflorescence through the visual arts, music and performance. These are expressed in the way they always have been in the corroborees of the past where large gatherings celebrated life, creation stories and country. Dances associated with ceremonial practices are serious events, enacted in private and witnessed only by the initiated. Song lines re-enact the songs and movements of the creation ancestors. Totems are blessed for the bounty they provide, in the time honored methods handed down through generations. Public performances are more light-hearted events with the participation of the audience reinforcing the feeling of community. Some maintain the integrity of cultural values such as sharing and equality with encouragement to participate, to learn, and to properly understand. Others, while using an ancient artifact or dance style, act out a recent event or humorous story. Groups and individuals, the contemporary becoming the traditional all meet in an inclusive space to form a seamless line from the past to the present. Exposure to non-Aboriginal cultures and materials has also created, for many communities, a sea change in the social, cultural, political and economic mix, and, for some, a tangible sense of dislocation. Contemporary festivals play a vital role in these communities, re-establishing their cultural identity while interpreting the new reality. In meeting a broader social agenda, cultural festivals are therefore not just song and dance. The important business of passing on knowledge and spending time with family and friends is a fundamental thread that binds the past with the present and links all the festivals in the Exhibition. Rituals are observed, gifts are exchanged and conflicts resolved. As outside cultures become more influential in even the most remote communities, cultural festivals provide a venue for these functions. Finally, cultural festivals reinforce the continuing spiritual and moral codes of the universe, which are honoured and nurtured by ceremonies, art, dance and song. Like rituals of diplomacy they serve to remind us of the protocols of life

Dear Sir/Madam Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts requests the pleasure of your company at the inaugural ceremony of a photography exhibition on Australian Contemporary Indigenous Cultural Festivals entitled Kickin' up dust beginning on Monday 28 February 2005. The show has been organized in collaboration with the Australian High Commission in Bangladesh. Begum Selima Rahman, Hon'ble State Minister, Ministry of Cultural Affairs will grace the occasion as Chief Guest while H. ...

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