A space and time for a generation to react: the Gattjirrk Cultural Festival in Milingimbi

Tamisari, Franca (2016) A space and time for a generation to react: the Gattjirrk Cultural Festival in Milingimbi. Oceania, 86 1: 92-109. doi:10.1002/ocea.5115

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Author Tamisari, Franca
Title A space and time for a generation to react: the Gattjirrk Cultural Festival in Milingimbi
Journal name Oceania   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1834-4461
Publication date 2016-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/ocea.5115
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 86
Issue 1
Start page 92
End page 109
Total pages 18
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Language eng
Abstract This article deals with the annually held Gattjirrk Cultural Festival organised in Milingimbi, a Yolngu community in Northeast Arnhem Land, and has the objective of analysing its socio-cultural and political meaning. Although this event is considered an amusement (wakal), it nevertheless constitutes an arena to negotiate postcolonial realities in which Yolngu people are forced to live. Focusing on the organisers' overall frame of ‘sharing culture’ and youths' interpretations of hip-hop dances as ‘performative tactics’, I suggest that the Milingimbi Festival creates a space in which generational perspectives within the community as well as the tension between Yolngu people and the non-indigenous (balanda) world may be displayed and mediated. While the Festival has been mainly conceived as a space for encountering and ‘sharing culture’ with other groups and people both within the community and with the balanda world, it is also seized as an opportunity by young people to generate new ways to engage with and challenge others. By weaving together elements of Yolngu heritage and pop culture, I argue that fun or burlesque dances (wakal bunngul) are ‘tactics of cultural remix’ that through laughter and irony demand a witnessing: a mutual recognition, engagement, and responsibility to participate and to respond. It is thus in their own ways that these performances produce new connections and relationships bringing together old and young, Yolngu and balanda in an effective although fleeting encounter.
Keyword 'Sharing culture'
Australian indigenous festival
Cultural remix
Hip-hop dance performance
Northeast Arnhem Land
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Social Science Publications
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