Festival comes to fruition

LARGE-scale community-based arts projects have a lot of magic to them. Behind that magic is a lot of hard work, long hours, skill, planning and vision, materials, negotiation and compromise, and a lot of people. There is also, almost always, an enormous amount of generosity, cooperation, passion, commitment and connection.      

Signage: Co-directors, Karen Hethey and Jennell Reynolds, working on the fire sign for the puppet performance at ECA's Space. Photo: Jane Mulcock

Signage: Co-directors, Karen Hethey and Jennell Reynolds, working on the fire sign for the puppet performance at ECA's Space. Photo: Jane Mulcock

The Mandboornap Dreaming puppet project has captured all of these things and with some truly magical outcomes. When members of the Esperance Nyungar community agreed to publicly share the very special and ancient Mandaboornap story, a wonderful set of collaborations was set in motion. Puppetry artist Karen Hethey agreed to return to Esperance to work with the Nyungar community and Esperance Community Arts to bring this vision to fruition. 

Nyungar artist Jennell Reynolds agreed to take on a leading role in designing and making the puppets along side a wonderfully dynamic team of Esperance women and their families. Jennell, Johnine Graham, Anna Bonney, Colleen Frost and Roslyn Rivers created a lot of magic of their own, working together on every aspect of the production in collaboration with an ever growing number of elders and young people. Tjaltjraak Aboriginal Corporation have also provided support and encouragement for the project. 

The project has created many opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to work closely together. New friendships have formed, an old story has been retold and new stories are unfolding. It has been a great privilege to be part of this process.

And so the 2017 Festival of the Wind begins, the culmination of many months of planning, and a great tribute to the volunteer committee of 12 led by Samara Clark and festival coordinator Jessica Ricciardo. In addition to the three ticketed feature events at the Cannery Arts Centre and the King of the Mountain Fun Run, there are a range of free events and activities over this weekend. Watch the mural on the side of Kung Fu Noodle shop take shape, and the giant sandcastle in front of the pier. Join a sand sculpting workshop on Saturday and enter the competition on Sunday.

Make sure you don’t miss the exhibition at the Cannery's Innerspace gallery documenting the Festivals' 20-year history or the live entertainment at the Soundshell from 11am-5pm, or the wide selection of activities for all ages in the Festival Hub behind the museum from 10am-4pm. The Museum Village Markets are also on from 8.30am-12.30pm both days. Skateboard, scooter and BMX fans can also head down to the skate park for stunt displays, workshops and a Freestyle competition. There is even an hourly courtesy bus from 9am - 5pm. Check the festival program for route and list of stops.

For more info on local arts groups and events or to sign up to the monthly e-newsletter, call 9072 1158, message us on Facebook, or email admin@esperancecommu nityarts.org.au.