29 June, 2021
NPA culture in the spotlight at festival
Cape York’s most northern communities put on an impressive display of culture, art, dance and fireworks at last weekend’s NPA Cultural Festival.
By TALEI ELU
The ceremonies kicked off with a relay of the Fire Stick starting at Injinoo and passing on to Umagico, Seisia, New Mapoon and finally to Bamaga.
The torch was passed from Elder to youth to symbolise the focus of this year’s theme of Keeping the Flame of Culture Burning by passing on culture to young people as the next generation tasked with keeping it alive.
The two-day festival showcased and celebrated the unique cultural identity of NPA communities.
Councillor for Bamaga, Estelle Gebadi said she was thrilled to have the event back on the calendar after the 2020 festival was postponed.
“The NPA Cultural Festival is an opportunity to unite everyone again after COVID kept people separated and isolated for some time,” she said.
“It has allowed us to come together to strengthen the bonds and connect families and friends again.
“This festival really gives us exposure, especially to tourists.
“It is an opportunity to share our uniqueness and the diversity of cultures that we have here in the NPA.”
Torres Strait Islander troupe Guba Markai Cultural Group and NPA State College school captains led the final community procession from the Ironbark Tree in Bamaga to Yusia Ginau Oval.
There, revellers enjoyed food and craft stalls, traditional games, TikTok dance competitions and other games.
A new addition to the biennial event was the inclusion of an art exhibition to showcase the artistic talent of the region.
NPA Cultural Festival exhibition manager Leonora Adidi said: “You can see the transmission of culture and knowledge through art, we have art created by school students on display and you can see the influence of the older local artists like Teho Ropeyarn and Vincent Babia.”
Over the two nights there were electrifying performances from local artists the Bani Brothers, Blaik Koral Band and Patrick Mau, who took a stage selfie of his audience.
The festival ended with an impressive display of fireworks which lit up the skies above the communities.