Excursion to Canberra & Tent Embassy - 13.04.22

NAISDA staff and students recently travelled to Canberra to attend the launch of the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial, CEREMONY, at the National Gallery of Australia. The trip was an opportunity to see 18 new bodies of work by 38 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country which explore “the prevalence of ceremony as a forum for artmaking today in First Nations communities”. The exhibition included a new screen-based work by dancer and choreographer Joel Bray that explores his embodied relationship to Country as a queer Wiradjuri man. Joel who studied at NAISDA and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), will be working with NAISDA students in Term 3 as part of NAISDA’s Artist in Residency program.

While in Canberra, students also had the important opportunity to visit and pay respect to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy site. NAISDA was born from a dance performed in 1972 on the lawn of Parliament House in protest of the Government’s determination to destroy the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. In this its 50th anniversary year, the Tent Embassy remains a potent symbol of our continuing fight for equality and self-determination.

NAISDA was invited for a smoking with the caretakers of the Tent Embassy and paid tribute to those who fought and continue to fight to raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discrimination by recreating an iconic image taken from Carole Johnson’s (NAISDA Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus) creative work “Embassy”. The work was born from the 1972 protests and grew to become a mainstay in performance at NAISDA for many years. It was recreated in 2016 as part of NAISDA’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.

NAISDA was also invited back to participate in the 50 year anniversary events happening at the site in July. We proudly look forward to continuing the narrative of protest, truth-telling and change.