Ardi Festival 2016
Following last year’s successful inaugural Ardi Festival, the Lombadina community once again hosted the Dampier Peninsula celebration for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. The 2016 event offered live music, bush cuisine and traditional and contemporary crafts including fishing spears, bush-dyed silks and jewelry from the Ardyaloon trochus hatchery at One Arm Point.
A highlight of the festival was the art exhibition; located in an outdoor structure which caught the breezes under a roof of freshly cut palm fronds, the exhibit showcased the works of local artists involved with the Lombadina Arts & Crafts shop. Intricately etched bush tucker-themed prints by Caroline Sibosado hung side by side with contemporary depictions of traditional Riji designs by Garry Sibosado. Artist/curator Darrell Sibosado used the opportunity to present the results of recent experiments with acrylic. The display also included Ilma by recently deceased senior artist Mr. Wiggan, whose works have recently featured at the state galleries of Western Australia and South Australia. It was an interesting experience to view these ceremonial pieces away from the aestheticising context of a contemporary gallery and instead presented outdoors in their country of origin.
The community atmosphere was reinforced by song and dance performances by local children and the entertaining stories of well-known local identity and M.C., Stephen Baamba Albert. The festival also boasted a full line-up of musicians from further afield, culminating in a powerful performance from Tura New Music’s Kimberley Reflections 2 musicians. This cross-cultural music program presented singer-songwriter Stephen Pigram (Yawuru) and master didjeridu player Mark Atkins (Yamatji) onstage with a violinist, cellist, flautist, guitarist and percussionist from Tura.
To the right of the stage a somewhat surreal sight lured curious visitors - the wreck of a gutted troopcarrier festooned with strained fence wires and other rusty additions. Enquiries revealed the vehicle to be a large scale musical instrument designed to be played with cello bows and percussion sticks. Created by Australian sound artist Jon Rose in collaboration with local Lombadina and Djarindjin musicians, artists, dancers, welders, strainers, crane drivers, teachers and students as part of the TURA Regional Artist in Residence Program, it was on this occasion a tantalising mute witness rather than instrument, as well as a testament to the creative energy and drive of these communities.
As the sun set behind the stage the band played one last encore and the festival drew to a close, leaving a relaxed audience sprawled under the eucalypts hoping this unique festival will return again next year.
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