Yarning Circles of Solidarity

by Jenny Fraser

Image: supplied

Yarn h e a l is the name of a new event presented by artist curator Jenny Fraser, a Yarning Circle of community healing that will be held free for Indigenous participants in Cairns.


She would also like other places to get involved and has made a call out “to ask and encourage everyone to sit down On Country and do Healing Circles simultaneously, all over our nations and all over the world... and help heal the impacts of the Climate Crisis with something positive and proactive.”


In Aboriginal English the term yarn has been adopted and adapted to generally mean talking and a respectful way of introducing story work. Yarning Circles have unspoken rules of engagement that hold space for reciprocity between participants and therefore the process can be spiritual, ceremonial, creative and a cooperative way of communicating to provide a culturally safe place to be heard and to respond.


The date is set as Sunday 9am-12pm on 9 Feb 2020 (Queensland time). Indigenous participants in Cairns will be meeting at the Centre of Contemporary Art on Abbott Street for Yarn h e a l that will be guest facilitated by Ganna Healing, who will be encouraging the ancient art of communicating and sharing space. This will be a great opportunity for community healing.


“Historically Cairns was known as Battle Camp in the early days of invasion, and for us to be able to hold Yarning Circles of solidarity in what is now the 250th year of James Cook's voyage to Australia, will be healing and memorable.” said Jenny Fraser. This will be a month before the Endeavour replicas depart from Sydney and head up the East Coast of Australia.


Yarn heal is part of a weekend of gatherings, including a private day long event for invited guests called h e a l, consisting of creative responses through many artforms, to help grow Indigenous Knowledges and culture. The day will start with a cleansing smoking ceremony by Henry Fourmile and an animation screening. Gordon Syron, who is in his 80th year and based on Magnetic Island will have his signature paintings that document invasion hanging in the space. Other Yidinji involvement will include Gudju Gudju discussing The Frontier Wars in Far North Queensland, with Theresa Dewar and Elaine Thomas sharing a massacre song. Bundjalung Violin player Eric Avery will share a live lament, among others including a Q&A studio, and short film screenings by Lisa Jackson from Canada. Segments event will be documented and hopefully broadcast.


All of the h e a l events are devised as a gift to the community and will kick off a big year of creative energy as Frasers art initiative cyberTribe is celebrating 20 years of survival and continuous programming, which has already seen over 55 projects realised on screen, in white cube environments and public spaces. A great deal of good energy has been invested into cultural maintenance by curating group exhibitions and events from an artists perspective, all over the world. There are also plans for the h e a l event to be developed into a touring show to other places, to educate and share culturally safe ways of knowing.



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