Rice Mag Issue 2: Red Dust

Issue 2: Red DustThey stared at my skin, my freckles and strangely curly hair, they noticed my eyes were blue.

One of the girls gasped and came close, peering into my eyes.Gently, she put one small hand on my cheek and pushed my face toward her friend…

Sissy look, she has sky in her eyes.

The Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) is a group of five remote, indigenous communities sitting at the most northern tip of Queensland, Australia. I was lucky enough to join these communities, living and working in the region for 2 years. Continue reading

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Kicking Up Dust

After the first performance, we couldn’t get them to stop! If they were moving, they were dancing. The campsites would fill with dust as the children practised their ‘shake a leg’, dodging smacks and yells from the adults who were opposed to having dust in their tents and cooking. At night our tent cities would come alive with campfires, fluro lights and the smell of food cooking.

“This is how we do it,” Aunty Nandy would tell me, teaching me to make island scones or cook enough rice and yam for a horde of hungry dancers. Continue reading

Laura Dance Festival 2013

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Age old markings decorated their bodies, dust thickened the air as the dancers feet met the ground of the sacred meeting place and songs of language and dreaming stories hung on the air, drifting through the silently watching crowds and trees.

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary this year, with a gathering of Aboriginal cultures from across Cape York, each sharing their culture and heritage through song and dance. Three dance groups from the NPA made the 10 hour journey to Laura to be a part of the cultural celebration, sharing their own songs, stories and dance. Dancers, singers and supporters from Injinoo, Umagico and New Mapoon took part in the three day event, showing the cultural strength of their own communities, and the unity of our region, through supporting one another.

“It was deadly to see our communities represented at the festival,” NPA Mayor Bernard Charlie said,  “to see our community members practicing their culture with pride, and supporting each other’s as equals. However, it was disappointing not to see all five communities represented this year, with dancers from Bamaga and Seisia troupes not in the line up.”

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Images by Jess Saxton, copyright.

Full album PDF available for download here, proudly sponsored by Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council.