Photo Courtesy: Corroboree Sydney Launch

Photo Courtesy: Corroboree Sydney Launch

An Eora word that has become part of Australia’s identity, a Corroboree is a place of ceremony and creative expression; a transformative gathering.’[1]
Corroboree is an exciting new annual Indigenous festival to be held in Sydney over 11 days and nights in November. This major event has been developed to celebrate the rich culture of Australia’s Indigenous population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, writers, dancers and musicians from around the nation will gather to share their stories through a programme of creative exhibitions performances, talks, forums, films and more. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to participate in and engage with all that this unique festival has to offer.
Artistic Direction and Team
Corroboree’s Creative Director for 2013-2015 is Hetti Perkins, one of Australia’s leading Indigenous curators. Hetti brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role as well as her consummate skills in delivering Indigenous programs of national significance. The team also includes Professor Michael McDaniel, Chair Corroboree Working Group, and Program Manager / Artist Jonathan Jones.

A Council of five elders has been formed to ensure the festival embraces and reflects Indigenous culture and Gadigal people:  Aunty Millie Ingram, Uncle Roy Kennedy, Uncle Charles (Chicka) Madden, Aunty Elaine Russell, and Aunty Esme Timbery.

Bringing together nine of Sydney’s leading cultural organisations under the one banner for the first time
, Corroboree Sydney is set to deliver a showcase of the best visual and performing arts, sharing the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – across 8 locations:

– Art Gallery of New South Wales
– Australian Museum
– Bangarra Dance Theatre
– Corroboree Central at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay
– Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
– Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
– State Library of NSW
– Sydney Opera House


Launching events include:


The Gurung Parade

Thursday 14 November – 11am
From Hyde Park to Government House – Free
A parade of students from Sydney wide primary schools carrying their own hand made waratah flowers, acknowledging local Eora culture.


The Firelight Ceremony and official lighting

Friday 15 November – at 7.36pm (sunset)
At Pier 2, Walsh Bay – Free
Corroboree Sydney is launched with a flame and a song with the opening night’s Firelight Ceremony to honour the traditional custodians of Sydney Harbour. The Corroboree Firelight will continue to burn for the duration of the festival, until Sunday 24 November.

Highlights focusing on Visual Art:




Until March 2014, 9.30am – 5.00pm
Entry: charges apply, no booking.
Discover the place of animals in Indigenous culture as depicted in their art.




16-19 November, 10.00am-3.00pm
Entry: charges apply, no booking.

Visual Artist: Jason Coulthard – An Adnyamathanha man from Port Augusta, Jason Coulthard uses sketching and digital design to revitalise his language and portray the Australian landscape in his contemporary Indigenous fashion designs.

Boolarng Nangamai Weavers – Join the Boolarng Nangamai Weavers in the revival of a traditional practice that is reaffirming cultural identity and strengthening communities.

Andrew Snelgar: Wooden Artefacts From the Ngemba tribe of western New South Wales, Andrew Snelgar has been continuing the traditional practice of creating wooden tools and weapons for over 20 years. He uses a method that is of low-environmental impact, passed down to him by his uncles.

Jahmarley Dawson: Indigenous Sound (11am – 2pm) Jahmarley Dawson brings the sounds of the didgeridoo to the Australian Museum. A Kamilaroi and Waanyi man from Caboolture, Queensland, Dawson has been performing for over nine years, is a prize-winning boxer and has excelled academically.


ELDERS CIRCLE – Morning Tea with Elaine Russell

Tuesday 19 November, 10.00am
Entry: free
Join Corroboree Sydney Elder Elaine Russell for morning tea at the Australian Museum.


TALK: Les Bursill – The Relationship Between Rock Art and Dreaming Stories

19 November, 2.00pm-3.30pm
Entry: charges apply, booking required.
Learn about the connection between rock art and Aboriginal dreaming stories from expert Les Bursill OAM over afternoon tea at the museum.



PLACE PROJECTIONS: Born in Darkness Before Dawn

20 November 2013 – 20 February 2014
The 20-metre William Street façade of the Australian Museum comes to life with a projection of the original film, Born in Darkness Before Dawn (2013) by Sydney-based Wiradjuri artist, Nicole Foreshew.




EXHIBITION: Illuminate

16 Nov 2013 – 27 Jan 2014
Yiribana Gallery
Entry: Free
This immersive installation, created with paper, light and sound, explores stories and ideas of home and housing, culture and community. An initiative of the Goomeroi people from Toomelah and Boggabilla in northwest New South Wales, Illuminate draws on their history, experiences and intergenerational relationships. Blending contemporary artistic practice and traditional cultural practice, the project is led by members of the Euraba Artists and Papermakers – May Hinch, Leonie Binge, Deborah Knox, Lola Binge and Christine Dumas – who have created a life-sized mission home from paper, providing the structure for sound and light projections.

More info:


WORKSHOP with Euraba Artists and Papermakers

Saturday 16 November – 2-4pm
Yiribana Gallery
Entry: Free
Join the artists from the Euraba Artists and Papermakers collective to explore ideas of home, memory and community in this paper-based art-making workshop in association with Illuminate, their immersive installation created with paper, light and sound, on display in the Yiribana Gallery.

SEE MORE:    artists-and-papermakers/


TALKS by Gallery experts and artists:

16, 17, 23 & 24 November 2013
Entry: Free
Artist Judy Watson – Saturday 16 November – 12pm – Yiribana Gallery

AGNSW ATSI Assistant Curator Emily McDaniel – Saturday 16 November – 1:30pm – Yiribana Gallery

Artist Daniel Boyd – Sunday 17 November 2013 12pm – Yiribana Gallery

Head of Australian Art Wayne Tunnicliffe – Sunday 17 November – 1:30pm – 20th & 21st c Australian art Galleries

Artist Ken Thaiday – Saturday 23 November – 12pm – Yiribana Gallery

Head of Research library and archive Steven Miller – Saturday 23 November – 1:30pm – Research library and archive

Indigenous Curator Stephen Gilchrist – Sunday 24 November – 12pm – Yiribana Gallery

AGNSW ATSI Curator Cara Pinchbeck – Sunday 24 November – 1:30pm – Yiribana Gallery.



ELDERS CIRCLE – Morning tea with Roy Kennedy
Wednesday 20 November – 10am
Study room
Free, bookings required
Join Roy Kennedy – one of Corroboree Sydney’s Council of Elders – for morning tea and a discussion about his artwork.


DIRECTOR’S TALK: Michael Brand

Wednesday 20 November – 5.30pm
20th & 21st c Australian art Galleries
Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of NSW, reflects on the historic commissioning of the tutini (Pukumani poles) from Melville Island in 1958 by the artist Tony Tuckson, who was then deputy director of the Gallery.



EXHIBITION PREVIEW: Yirrkala drawings with curator Cara Pinchbeck

Wednesday 20 November – 6pm
Study room

Learn the story behind these incredible and rarely seen artworks, which are now held at the Berndt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia.


CELEBRITY TALK: Hetti Perkins in conversation with Fenella Kernebone

Wednesday 20 November – 6.30pm
Entrance court
Hetti Perkins, creative director of the Corroboree Sydney festival, will discuss with arts journalist Fenella Kernebone the cultural diversity that is Indigenous Australia and reflect on the aspirations and ideas embodied by the festival, a celebration of culture, country and community held on Gadigal land at the site of first colonisation.



PERFORMANCE FOR KIDS: Ngununy the cheeky fruitbat

Saturday 16 November – 2.30pm and Sunday 24 November – 11.30am
Meet at the information desk
Join an interactive character tour of the Gallery’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection with Ngununy the cheeky fruitbat.

More info:



EXHIBITION – Embedded: Craig Walsh

Until 24 November
Open daily from 10.00am-5.00pm and to 9.00pm on Thursday.
Entry: Free, no booking.
Craig Walsh uses moving image, sound, colour, photography and site-specific installation to share stories from the Burrup Peninsula of Western Australia.



ELDERS CIRCLE – Morning Tea with Esme Timbery

21 November – 10.00am
Join Corroboree Elder Esme Timbery for morning tea at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.
Entry: Free, Booking required.


FORUM – Mining, Land, Community

21 November, 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Entry: booking required and charges apply.
Co-curator of Embedded: Craig Walsh, Judith Blackall and MCA curator of ATSI programs, Keith Munroe join senior custodian of land in Kakadu Jefferey Lee to discuss the impacts of the mining industry on Indigenous communities. Lee has recently succeeded in a long campaign to permanently protect the Kakadu National Park from uranium mining in the future.



CORROBOREE CENTRAL (at Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay)


Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 November, 10.00am-6.00pm
Free Entry
Ignite your senses and experience a showcase of vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and cultural entrepreneurs from across NSW. Meet the makers, listen and learn with featured workshops and talks in this bustling marketplace brimming with art, weaving, bush food and homewares.



Saturday 23 November and Sunday 24 November
Entry: Charges apply
The two days are packed with workshops to engage with traditional knowledge and culture: learn to weave; try some new moves; create crazy creative constructions with contemporary artists; bring your ideas to life with a film-making and scriptwriting masterclasses; set your imagination in motion with storytelling, art making and sing-a-longs with the Corroboree Elders.

More info:


For the entire program of events, see the official Corroboree Sydney 2013 website: