By Katie Johnson
Although there’ll be no sweaty crowds packed into Federation Square this year, the Koorie Heritage Trust’s (KHT’s) Koorie Krismas will go ahead as a one-of-a-kind online event.
From dance performances by Djirri Djirri Dancers, to a special appearance by Koorie Klaus, the online show will take place on December 12 and will be hosted by award-win- ning playwright and actor John Harding.
Curatorial manager Gail Harradine said that while the show would look different this year, the Trust was putting in the work to make it as engaging and interactive as possible.
“There’s still some anxiety around elders be- ing out in big crowds during COVID, so to meet the challenge we felt it was best to go ahead with an online event,” Ms Harradine said.
“We’re pre-recording the performances at the River Terrace, so you’ll be able to look out over the Yarra too.”
The free event will be held online between 11am and 2pm and feature performances from The Merindas, Bumpy, Aaron B and a range of others to be announced later this month.
Ms Harradine also said there would be in- teractive presentations from elders who would pass on their thoughts to the community during Christmas time.
“It’s going to be a full day of activities – we usually get swamped at the end when Santa comes,” she said.
The virtual Krismas event will be nothing new for the Trust, as all of their workshops and exhibitions have been online since COVID hit in March.
Ms Harradine said that based on the positive community response, the Trust had decided to continue with the online format going into 2021.
“I’m really pleased with how our collection has been travelling during this time and how we’ve kept all of our public programs going,” Ms Harradine said.
“It’s helped people who can’t go anywhere, especially when you’re used to going to galleries
it’s a highlight for a lot of people.”
A key event coming up in December is the
8th Koorie Art Show, which boasts a display of 125 artworks submitted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who reside in Victoria.
The artists range from emerging to profes- sional and all of the artwork will be available to view and purchase online and in the gallery.
“It will be an array of contemporary of tra- ditional styles and mediums including paining, photography, sculpture, fibre and digital mixed media works,” Ms Harradine said.
“It will be really interesting to see what peo- ple have produced during such a trying year.”
Included in the exhibition will be work sub- mitted by artists under 17, as well as work sent in by indigenous offenders and ex-offenders in Victoria as part of a program to reduce the rate of reoffending.
“The Torch is a really amazing program for people who have left prison which encourages the exploration of identity and culture through art,” Ms Harradine said.
The show will run from December 5 to February 21 2021 and artists will go into the running to win $32,000 worth of prizes, including the Creative Victoria Award and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program 2D Award.
As a Wotjobaluk artist herself, Ms Harradine said working as the Trust’s curatorial manager for the past two years had been an uplifting experience.
“I used to work at the Trust in the mid-90s, so it’s exciting to see how it has evolved and improved over time,” Ms Harradine said.
“It has always been about reconciliation so it’s great to have a space where indigenous art can be showcased.”
For the latest information about Koorie Krismas and the 8th Koorie Art show: koorieheritagetrust.com.au