Corroboree Firelight Opening Ceremony

(6.30pm, Tuesday 21 November 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art)

Thank you, Hetti [Perkins MC]. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Firelight ceremony and to Corroboree 2014.

For the next 10 days, 11 cultural institutions around the harbour and out to Redfern will play host to over 100 artists and performers with dozens and dozens of events. And it's no point trying to list the highlights, because they all seem to be very special events!

  • There was that great Gurung Parade yesterday, with over 2,000 school-children coming together in Hyde Park
  • There's the exhibition at the Australian Museum that opened earlier today;
  • the paper canoe workshops at the National Maritime Museum later in the Festival;
  • the return of Homeground - a free two-day outdoor event at the Opera House; a celebration of Bangarra's 25 years, again in a free outdoor gathering at the Opera House;
  • a Black Arts Market here on Saturday…. and on the list goes.

There is also a Family Fun Day here at the MCA and, importantly, an education program designed especially for teachers and their students.

This second annual Corroboree really is testimony to the richness and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to the enormous wealth of artistry and talent present in those communities.

It is also testimony to their powerful and enduring presence in our 21st century city, and the City is pleased to renew our sponsorship for the next two years.

So this Firelight ceremony heralds the start of a remarkable celebration.

As you know, the City is also working to acknowledge the past and continuing contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made through our Eora Journey. Just a little while ago, we started work to prepare for Tony Albert's sculpture to honour indigenous servicemen and women.

For their first time, they will be acknowledged and honoured as they should always have been, and we plan to have it installed in Hyde Park for next April's centenary of Anzac. There are other projects planned, too, and we're glad to have Hetti as a curatorial advisor.

She has put together a terrific program here, with the support of the many institutions taking part, so a big thank you to them, and congratulations to everyone who's worked to make this such a fabulous event. You'll all have a wonderful time.