Every month we share indigenous news, stories and media from around the world in our round-up. With a focus on arts, culture & promoting the strength of indigenous knowledge. We also introduce new members who have joined our global collaboration network.
This week, we’re happy to feature:
Independent arts + culture print publication Majestic Disorder , creating with integrity while leaving a minimal global footprint.
Art gallery in Berlin and forum for dialogue and cultural exchange between European & Australian artists, Jarvis Doones.
Pakhuis de Zwijger: a unique cultural organisation which opened its doors in 2006 and has grown to be an independent platform for and by the city of Amsterdam and its inhabitants.
20-year old raps in indigenous language to inspire young people
20- year old Danzel Baker, also known as Baker Boy, is from the Milingimbi community in Northeast Arnhem Land, northern territory. Being a young rapper, Baker wants to use music to help young indigenous kids navigate their way through both traditional and western worlds. English is his third language, after his local tongue, which made him wonder why he would even write lyrics in English. Although there are native Australian rappers, none of them rap in indigenous language, so he decided to take that task upon himself and started writing. For several years Baker has been working with the Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects (IHHP), which uses the musical form to connect with young people who might be getting involved in harmful behaviours such as taking drugs, drinking and sniffing petrol. Baker started to become a role model:
” It’s important for kids living in remote communities to see and hear themselves represented in popular culture.”
Bakers’ latest song and video, released this month, features images showcasing the spectacular Milingimbi scenery and it’s cultural heritage in dance, music and art.
Shall we dance?
Is it possible for predators and local communities with their livestock to live in complete balance with eachother? Apparently so. Researchers from Kenyan local non-profit Rebuilding the Pride have spent a lot of time tracking the local lions’ population and its seasonal movements and have found that they adapt to the presence of people in the area. It’s a seasonal dance. However, the growth of national parks in Kenya is greatly jeopardizing this peaceful coexistence, as lions in the parks are faced with a lack of prey and therefor have turned on kettle of the Maasai- communities in the area, leading them to drastic measures. Non-profits like Rebuilding the Pride go into these communities to learn how they’ve lived side by side with the lions for thousands of years, to learn and recreate natural habitats for both.
Film-maker Anna Campbell grew up in Kenya and followed some of these lions and people of Rebuilding the Pride to make a documentary about them. The result is a beautiful work of art and a very clear call to action:
Photo feature- Awramba community
In Nortwest Ethopia lives a community of around 500 people, founded by a once labeled crazy man called Zumra Nuru. Nuru never had any education, despite being a very bright and inquisitive child. Growing up, he deemed this increasingly unfair, alongside many other forms of inequality and injustice he wanted to address: maltreatment of elderly and women, the exploitation of children to make money and general dishonest dealings between people of different religion. Once a grown up man, he came up with the idea of creating a new religion solely based on love and equality, which made him very unpopular with his family and local community but has grown into it’s own tribal community ever since. The Awramba are completely self-sufficient and follow 4 principles: respecting equality of women, caring for the elderly, respecting childrens’ rights and avoiding bad deeds. Due to the equality of all the members in the community, it has become a safe-haven for widows, single-mothers, orphans and elderly with family who would have fallen into poverty in any other Ethiopian village.
Ethiopian documentary photographer Maheder lived with the Awramba community and learned that their way of living has been very succesful so far. Maheder was one of 12 participants in World Press Photo’s Masterclass for upcoming visual storytellers. You can read an interview with her and her work in Ethiopia right here.
Being one of the biggest nations in the world with the largest native population, Canada and it’s developments towards reconciliation and decolonization is something to pay attention to… According to Simon Brault, CEO of the Canadian Council of the Arts, it is an important time for the Inuit and Metis (both Canadian indigenous communities), as he points out during the revelation of the Councils’ Indigenous Art Awards. More and more examples of recognition for indigenous art and artists can be found around the world, whether it was last years’ first time exhibit of Inuit art during the Venice Biennale or the inclusion of indigenous history during the Punctured Landscapes exhibit in Washington, raising topics like denial of human rights, colonialism, sexual abuse and environmental damage.
In his speech, Brault goes on by emphasizing the importance of artists as the storytellers of our time:
” Through words, images, music, dance and theatre, they question accepted narratives. They shape how we understand our existence. How we walk this Earth, what we value and how we interact with each other. Their stories may challenge. They may be uncomfortable. But their stories – your stories – must be told. And we, as a society, must listen.”
Statements like these should clarify his and the Canadian Councils’ decision to invest more money into indigenous art and culture in the future, of which this years’ REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards, with grants at a total value of 1.5 billion dollar, is a very clear statement. The Awards should support the 150 winners on their own terms to fully carry out their attempts to express humanity in all its complexity. To foster resilience, and to build a true nationhood.
One of the winners is Caroline Monnet, film- and documentary-maker from Ottawa and Metis-woman. Being a woman of indigenous decent, Monnet is constantly researching the implications of her background, in one of her projects she brought together 10 indigenous women to talk about this and made a video about it:
If you wanne see more exmaples of REVEAL artists, you can see the full list of winners here.