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June 3, 2019 - Gumbugan Arts Forum a success

Indigenous artists from throughout Far North Queensland attended the inaugural Gumbugan Indigenous Arts Forum on the Cassowary Coast last week.
Guest Indigenous presenters who specialise in a variety of art forms and arts education and support came from far and wide to discuss dance, storytelling, writing, film and television, copyright, funding and building a local arts network.
The forum, held in the beautiful art deco Innisfail Shire Hall, was the centrepiece of Reconciliation Week celebrations hosted by the Cassowary Coast Regional Council and funded by the RADF program. It attracted participants from Ingham to Cairns and all parts between.
Australian Indigenous comedian Kevin Kropinyeri, who was master of ceremonies at Friday’s forum, set the scene for a relaxed and friendly event with a one-man performance at Innisfail’s The Con Theatre on Thursday night. The audience was kept laughing for more than an hour as he shared his story of growing up and the absurd challenges faced by an Aboriginal Australian family man. 
Planning for Gumbugan, Mamu language name for the large flightless bird for which the region is named, began 18 months ago when Cassowary Coast Regional Council engaged Indigenous consultant Trish Barnard as coordinator. Ms Barnard is a former Senior Curator for Indigenous Studies at the Queensland Museum and a proud Cassowary Coast local.
“Indigenous arts tourism is essential for us here within the Cassowary Coast,” Ms Barnard said. “Having so many great artists here, we need to develop the industry and create a future for many of our artists.”
Innisfail dance legend Raymond D. Blanco coordinated dance presentations and worked with local dancers Kimberley Bryant and Ky-Mani Morris, both from Innisfail State College. The contemporary dance presentation told the story of peer pressure and growing up as an indigenous girl within an urban surroundings.
An Innisfail-based Torres Strait Islander family led by Terell Mara performed traditional Torres Strait dance and music.  The children played ‘burnie bean’ shakers as they danced to traditional drums played by the elders and won the crowd with their passion and commitment to the dance.
Saturday’s workshops included practical sessions on copyright and protecting your art, making art and product development. Filmmakers Simone North and Chenoa Deemal discussed how to tell your story in film.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Community Development officer Kath Hansen was delighted the event was such a success.

“This inaugural Gumbugan Arts Forum and workshops was all about the local Indigenous cultural community who supported it and are keen to build on its success and capitalise on new networks and potential projects stemming from the forum,” Ms Hansen said.
“We had quality presenters for each of the sessions and I thank coordinator Trish Barnard who used her networking and knowledge of the Indigenous arts scene to bring the very best to the Cassowary Coast for the benefit of our local Indigenous artists.”