Two Fires Festival 2015

Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …

Two Fires Festival 2015 - Carrying the flame of Judith Wright's passions …
  • Philip Graetz says:

    I came mainly for the wonderful ‘Deadly Friends’ Art Show after a busy football day with my sons in Canberra. I was drawn to see the works by my very talented friend Helen Tiernan and the opening also by my good friend, Margo Neale. Braidwood and we Canberrans who travel tirelessly through Braidwood going to and fro to the coast are fortunate indeed to have such an exhibition of national if not international quality so conveniently located and so well presented.

    I was not very aware of the history and culture of the Durhga people, despite enjoying the wonderful tableland and coastal country, and taking an active interest in Indigenous culture and history over many years. The program at the National Theatre on Saturday night, and especially the wonderful interview with Uncle Max before the closing ceremonies has pointed me in the right direction. I am eager to read my copy of Uncle Max’s book, as I am ensure it will so enrich my family’s respect for and experience of Durhga country.

    These stories and perspectives so resonated with my experience staying with the Eastern Arrernte people near Ltyentye Apurte (said “Ginga Porta”) Community, also known as Santa Teresa, located about 80 kilometres South East of Alice Springs. The “Walking in Two Worlds” program in which I participated taught me to respect, observe non-judgmentally, and listen deeply, before engaging in genuine dialogue. If only the then recent “intervention” had adopted those principles.

    I congratulate and thank the organizers, especially for so courageously pursuing activism alongside art. The former gives great meaning to the latter. I feel there are no easy options for the national dialogue that is so necessary for reconciliation and healing. Let us hope and pray that we, the descendants of so recent newcomers to this land, can open our hearts to the spiritual and universal truth contained in the unvarnished ancient wisdom and sophisticated culture of our first Australians.

    Think about this: Our young people, Indigenous or otherwise, need ideas to believe in and to pursue that goes way beyond the material. If young Australians, not even of Muslim backgrounds, are attracted to travel to foreign lands to fight for and the evil ideas of ISIS, why are they not drawn to peaceful activism on behalf of national reconciliation?

    My suggestion for the future is that the organizers might look for partner communities, maybe like the Eastern Arrernte, to compare and contrast arts and activist strategies. My apologies if anyone is one or more steps beyond me. My other comment is that the festival needs to connect better with the decision-making community of Canberra, to raise awareness of the festival and its aims and to further influence the national dialogue. I am ashamed of my own ignorance until yesterday.

    My congratulations to everyone for a wonderful event.

    Philip Graetz, Macquarie ACT

    May 17, 2015 at 10:46 pm
  • Julia Green says:

    Thank you Philip, on behalf of the Two Fires Festival organisers, for your thoughtful, honest and helpful comments about our recent Festival. It would be good if many Canberrans read it! We are very pleased that you found the festival so enriching, informative and thought-provoking.
    We have not considered partnering with another community, and think the idea has much merit. For us, with few people and resources, figuring how to do this might be a challenge…
    It has been suggested in previous years that we engage a contact person in major cities, especially Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne, to act as liaison and publicity people in the lead up to our biennial festivals. We would love to do this – so far it hasn’t happened.
    If you had any suggestions as to how we might connect better with the decision-making community in Canberra, we would be interested and appreciative.
    Thanks again for taking the time to give us your feedback,

    May 25, 2015 at 8:46 pm

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