"We all come together for the big Yawar and everyone contributes in the circle and everyone in the audience feels that power and that spiritual recharge" (Joshua Walker, 13 July 2018).
WHERE IT BEGAN
Yawar – A Gathering was the closing ceremony of Clancestry, A Celebration of Country 2014 and 2015.
Beginning in 2013, the Closing Ceremony provided the opportunity for over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers from across Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory to celebrate their cultural songs and dances. This was the largest documented gathering for song and dance in the city since the 1920’s and following conversations with community members, it was decided to support and grow the event.
The following year in 2014, the Yawar – A Gathering grew to include over 280 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers from across 15 cultural dance groups. Senior Song men and Song women were involved in the creative and cultural development of the event which saw each group seek permission of the host to join in Yawar – A Gathering through the presentation of a message stick.
In 2015, Yawar – a gathering once again bought together over 250 performers through a journey in song and dance into the intricate dreaming and stories that lie beneath the surface of this concrete jungle and its surrounding areas all the way to the Torres Strait Islands via the Brothers and Sisters from those regions, who now call South East Queensland their home.
As this corroboree continues to grow, it has become an important cultural event in Queensland.
YAWAR, A CULTURAL MAPPING PROJECT
Yawar, A Cultural Mapping Project emerged in response to Elders and community members expressing a desire to document, and where appropriate, share with the wider Australian society the processes and protocols that underpin the Yawar – A Gathering performances. Through this project we aim to map the memories of holders of song and develop resources (physical and digital) that promote and support the cultural knowledge underpinning the performances of song and dance practitioners.
Yawar – A Gathering demonstrates the cultural strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance and song in southeast Queensland and the Cultural Mapping Project aims to illustrate this power to the wider Australian audience.
In particular, we explore how song-men and song-women navigate the cultural protocols associated with performance and pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
Yawar, A Cultural Mapping Project is the first stage of a three-year project working with holders of song from across Queensland. As an interactive platform we invite members of the public to include their own memories of the Clancestry events to create a cultural map for community, which is created by community. The project is led by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, with support from partner organisations the Maria Vasas Foundation and the University of Queensland School of Social Science.