Editor’s Message: Now that summer is over…
With the summer holidays definitively over and the nights beginning to breathe an autumnal cool, its time for SIBW to briefly review some of 2016’s multicultural offerings and envision what is to come.
One of the contributions SIBW Magazine aims to make is to report on the ways in which multicultural communities are enriching Australian society and contributing to change and social cohesion.
By continuing to practise unique traditions and ways of life, multicultural immigrant and Indigenous communities can influence the wider society and may also foster a greater understanding of how what we think, say and do affects others.
Because of the lack of recognition of Indigenous land ownership in Australia and a resultant feeling of disenfranchisement for Indigenous Australians, it is particularly important for non-Indigenous Australians to come to a greater understanding of the views, traditions and needs of their Indigenous counterparts.
However, not all the news has been good. The Closing the Gap Report of 2017 provides an account of how successful governments and communities have been at redressing Indigenous disadvantage in Australia.
It showed that while some success has been achieved at a local level, in general progress has been slow and that more needs to be done to achieve the targets set by the Australian Council of Governments (COAG).
In 2016, the multicultural vibrancy of annual local festivals enlivened many
Notable examples were the Indonesian Pesta Rakyat and IndOz, Malaysian Citra Malaysia and Indian Divali festivals.
Characterizing the diversity of these cultures themselves, IndOz, for example, presented a range of cultural practices that embodied a fusion of religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity.
Indigenous communities have been very active, presenting regular festivals and art exhibitions. In north Queensland the Torres Strait cultural festival is held on
Thursday Island in the September holidays every second year and alternates with a music festival.
In the SIBW story that follows, a school student on Thursday Island, Melora Mosby, gives an account of the 2016 cultural week, that may encourage readers to make the pilgrimage north to see more of Torres Strait Islander culture.
SIBW wrote previously about the vibrant contemporary Indigenous performances of the Bangarra Dance Troupe who will be back again in August 2017.
SIBW will continue to offer articles about the contribution individuals can make to social harmony as well as diverse events that bring an understanding of the unfamiliar.
Festivals to look forward to in 2017 include the Clancestry, Quandamooka, Yarrabah and Barunga festivals among others.
Each month brings new multicultural festivals and events for readers. April sees National Youth Week (31st March – 9th April) as well as the Buddha Birthday and Blues Festivals and May, the Panayiri Greek and the Africa Day Festivals.
Especially important this year is Mabo day from 29th May to 4th June, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision in 1992. Through a case brought by the
Torres Strait Islander, Eddie Mabo, this decision demonstrated ongoing Native title in the legal sphere, counteracting the previously held assumption that the Australia landscape was empty of inhabitants.
A special event readers might like to attend is the , Brisbane Torres Strait Islander Community Church Service, held on Sunday 4 June 2017 at the Holy Trinity Church in Fortitude Valley, where Torres Strait Islander drums and singers will fill the church with their awe-inspiring music.
Multicultural film festivals have long been a recognized way of bringing other
languages and cultures to audiences.
Playing with languages and audiences’ ways of understanding them has become a feature of recent cinema. Some of the highlights in 2016 were the Asia Pacific Film Festival (23rd Nov – 4th Dec) screening dozens of films from diverse countries and the Scandinavian film festival, (5th July to 3rd Aug).
Many more will feature this year. One playing right now is the Alliance Francais Film Festival held from 7th March to 23rd April and in Brisbane from 16th March to 9th April.
We will continue to focus on individuals who make a difference by bringing the
richness of their culture to the community, along with their enterprise. Originally from Goa, Richard Fernandes of Kumari Spice World is one whose story we tell in an article that follows.
We will tell stories of developments in the multicultural world and keep you informed about events, people and places in coming months. We welcome contributors with stories of their own to tell and would love to have your feedback and comments.