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Multicultural Arts Victoria launches Shepparton Emerge Cultural Hub

From Gurtji Narruk Cultural Camp to Emerge on the Goulburn Festival: A celebration of multicultural Shepparton.

Media Release 24 April 2012

Gurtji Narruk Cultural Camp

Gurtji Narruk Cultural Camp and Emerge on the Goulburn was held successfully last week in Shepparton and bought indigenous and refugee cultures together to celebrate their uniqueness and their contribution to the local community.

A 3 day camp out on country at the Dharnya Centre in the Barmah National Park was attended by 18 very excited culturally diverse young people from Shepparton High School including 8 Koorie , 4 Chinese , 2 Afghani, 2 Sudanese,1 Sri Lankan and 1 Filipino. The leaders were also a cultural mix from Dutch to Turkish.

The Gurtji Narruk Cultural Project arose from a need to address social cohesion and diversity through the arts - addressing knowledge, understanding and respect, stemming from our local first nation peoples, the Yorta Yorta Nation in and around Shepparton area.

Lyn Thorpe

Lyn Thorpe (local Yorta Yorta woman and educator) was instrumental in developing the concept with Multicultural Arts Victoria, who worked closely in partnership with Parks Victoria and the Yorta Yorta Nation. WATER - as the giver of all life and culturally appropriate to all cultures, was the overall theme.

The camp was planned around Indigenous culture and attended by members of the Yorta Yorta Nation, Jackie Walker and Lee Joachim, with a welcome and talk about the importance of the land to aboriginal culture from Uncle Col Walker, a cultural walk with Greta Morgan and Hilda Stewart indigenous cultural rangers with Parks Victoria.

The young leaders were mentored by artists Narjiic Day Burns, Anne Harkin, Sista Native and the Fly BZ . The work created was shown at Emerge on the Goulburn and launched our new Emerge Cultural Hub in Shepparton as part of our Emerge Cultural network.

"Bringing together refugee communities and people from our first nation is vitally important", stated Suzi Cordell Emerge Hubs coordinator,"Social cohesion in our community is the focus of much of the work we do through the Arts at Multicultural Arts Victoria."

Emerge on the Goulburn

The culmination after extensive planning was the Emerge on the Goulburn Main Event on Saturday 21st April at the Eastbank Centre a focal point for Emerge on the Goulburn festivities.

An exciting, interactive and free cultural celebration, the Main Event saw audiences of up to 1000 people throughout the afternoon enjoy 22 performances, 5 workshops, and 11 stalls/ displays from 218 artists, craftspeople, chefs and community members from 22 different cultures including Congolese, Sudanese, Burundian, Ivorian, Iranian, Afghan, Samoan, Indian, Phillipino, Indonesian, Italian, Maltese, South African, Albanian, Tongan, Yorta Yorta, Iraqi, Chinese, Croatian, Celtic, Greek and Australian.

Emerge was a diverse and stimulating program operating across 4 spaces within the Eastbank Centre and included: a professional main stage concert of traditional and contemporary dance, music, song and drums from local emerging refugee and Indigenous communities hosted by Tongan artist, Sista Native.

The main stage program included performances by Uncle Colin Walker, Dhungalla Dance Group, Burundian Drummers, Otuho Community Dancing Group, Toloa Samoa Community, Traditional Women's Congolese Dance Group, Angels Voices Band and culminated with a headline high profile touring artist Shellie Morris from Northern Territory.

A youth stage concert managed by local peak youth organization Word and Mouth and hosted by local Yorta Yorta artist Adam Briggs featuring hip hop, pop and soul performances by talented local young artists from refugee and Indigenous backgrounds including Monga J Mukasa, Gary Hand, Flybz, Young Ugees, Shepparton High School Islander Singing Group, DJ Hoppi and a special showcase from the Gurtji Narruk Project.

Anita Larkin Emerge on the Goulburn coordinator stated, "The attendance was fantastic with such a diverse and appreciative audience and an amazing line up of talented and enthusiastic performers and artists."

"A heart warming and amazing day of cultural sharing and celebration with new found friendships and new cultural experiences discovered and experienced. It really embraced the whole community of Greater Shepparton and showed what an extraordinary regional community it is! "

Producers & Supporters

Gurtji Narruk Cultural Camp and Emerge on the Goulburn was produced by Multicultural Arts Victoria and proudly supported by Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Greater Shepparton City Council, Riverlinks , Word of Mouth, Uniting Care Cutting Edge, Ethnic Communities Council of Shepparton, Shepparton English Language Centre, Goulburn Valley Library Services, The Community Fund , the Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation, Community Support Fund, Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts.

Jill Morgan Multicultural Arts Victoria CEO commented "Multicultural Arts Victoria is proud to have worked with so many partners to launch our Emerge Cultural Hub in Shepparton to create an awareness of the enormous and valuable contribution of Indigenous and refugee cultures to our community."

More Information

For Further information phone 91883681