Friday, November 01, 2013

Truth and Reconciliation

Samoan ava ceremony at The Origin of Origins.  Photo: Nick Moran
It's an incredibly rich and stimulating time at the Origins Festival.  More than ever, this third outing has managed to combine some really incredible performances and films with a real depth and passion in discussion - an intense engagement with the cultures and the issues explored.

Truth and Reconciliation is a big theme this year, and Tuesday evening at Rich Mix really explored this, with Justice Murray Sinclair of Canada's Truth Commission joining us by Skype, plus remarkable films and the music of Indigie-Femme.  I was very struck by Justice Sinclair's remark that Truth was something the victims could tell - but that any process of reconciliation actually has to start from the perpetrator.  In a way, that's what the festival is all about: westerners have to become actively engaged with indigenous cultures, and recognise the harms that have been done to them in the name of our absurd drive for wealth.   We have to find a new way jointly to inhabit the planet.

When My Spirit Raised Its Hands
Tonight's opening, Diane Benson's play When My Spirit Raised its Hands, is a further contribution to this.  Already Diane has been a powerful presence at our Festival, pointing out the parallels between the Alaskan Tlingit experience and that of Australian Aboriginals in her response to Fiona Foley's brilliant lecture on Wednesday.  Her play, which is at Rich Mix till Sunday, explores the Civil Rights movement in Alaska, and gives a rare (perhaps even unique) insight into Tlingit life and culture.  Diane is not only a theatre-maker, she is also a political leader - the adversary of Sarah Palin!  And that's got to be a good thing....

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