Four Winds and the Cultural Connections Initiative of the National Museum of Australia.
As part of the Australian Government’s 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia, Four Winds has been supported by the National Museum of Australia’s (NMA’s) Cultural Connections Initiative. This initiative aims to develop the professional skills and capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and cultural practitioners.
The NMA has worked with Four Winds to employ a cultural practitioner and invest in a community-led project, both aimed at strengthening local cultural practices and knowledge.
In 2019 artist Cheryl Davison was engaged by Four Winds as Aboriginal Creative Producer, and the Djinama Yilaga Choir was also born.
The choir, made up of local Aboriginal singers, worked together with composer Lou Bennett in 2019 to create four songs, all written in Dhurga language. Djinama Yilaga were due to perform the songs at the 2020 Easter Festival. The project has also seen the creation of Possum Skin Cloaks and three stunning flags depicting the ancient story of the Black Cockatoo (the flags were also supported by the BVRG’s “Yuin Artist Mentor” fund).
Cheryl Davison worked with Sydney based artist Jonathan Jones and a team of volunteers to create the flags, which depict the ancient story of the Black Cockatoo. This part of the project was also supported by the Bega Valley Regional Gallery through it’s Yuin Art Mentorship Program.
Due to Covid-19 the Easter Festival was cancelled, and the live project evolved to become a ‘filmed’ project.
Cheryl Davison believes the filming of the songs has been the perfect way to pull all the elements of the project together…
“It’s going to be an amazing piece of work that will showcase all the different ideas I’ve had throughout the year, especially considering all the challenges. With the filming, due to Covid, we have such a beautiful document.”
“It is something really special, I never imagined it could turn out so beautifully. It is more artistic and beautiful, and more far-reaching than the live incarnation… so who knows how far it will go?”
“I’m really quite surprised how proud I feel. When it came to the filming it was a real test for the Choir, to their commitment, and they have really come through, standing in the mud and in the mangroves! It really shows their dedication.”
“When we are in those places, we really feel the spirits and ancestors are with us.”
To see more about this project and Cheryl Davison’s work, visit here.
Local Film Producer Hiromi Matsuoka has been working with Andrew Robinson Film to create these three video pieces around the songs, ‘Ganbi’ (Fire), ‘Walawaani’ (Safe Journey), and ‘Our Way’.
Film Director Andrew Robinson along with Hayden Griffith, Sam Seidel, Brent Occleshaw, Kyle Wilson, and Karinya Suter have been shooting the choir at many of the stunning headlands, forests and estuaries on Yuin country. The films will be premiered in 2021.
“When we are in those places, we really feel the spirits and ancestors are with us.” – Cheryl Davison