• Freedom, 2014 Parade. Pictured: Nova Gina (Dallas Webster). Photographer: Keith Long. (Detail). ((Koori Gras))Source: (Koori Gras)
The deadly, black and beautiful Koori Gras is back for its second year, as part of the 40th anniversary of Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Jedda Costa

27 Feb 2018 - 11:48 AM  UPDATED 27 Feb 2018 - 12:13 PM

Koori Gras, a mini-festival showcasing diverse queer Indigenous cultures and communities from around the world, is set to impress audiences again this year with an exciting display of First Peoples cultures and communities.

The event, originally hosted in the suburb of Redfern last year, started out as a small exhibition showcasing historical images of black participation in past Mardi Gras parades.

This year’s Koori Gras, presented by Moogahlin Performing Arts in association with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Carriageworks, is promising to be bigger and better with a number of key events, including creative development workshops, an international panel of artists and the very exciting Black Nulla Cabaret.

Co-director of Moogahlin Performing Arts, Liza-Mare Syron said the unique occasion was about making a visual statement and presence in Sydney.

“It’s about visibility and celebrating our black queer culture and celebrating with our community and friends,” she Liza- Mare.

Key performers included the fabulous ‘Miss Ellaneous’ and the deadly ‘Dreamtime Divas’ who will also feature in the insightful new queer film Black Divaz.

The film takes a personal look at the lives of Indigenous drag queens and their achievements and challenges when competing in the Miss First Nations pageant.

Watch highlights of the first-ever Miss First Nations Drag competition in Darwin:

The film's world premiere will be held in Sydney on 26 February at the Mardi Gras Film Festival Queer Screen.

Black Divaz co-creator, Ben Graetz who also goes by the drag name of Miss Ellaneous told NITV News: “I think it’s really important because most of the time our representation is very invisible. So the more we’re included in larger festivals like Mardi Gras, the more it will allow our community to shine.”

With events being sold out fast, Koori Gras plans to grow and emerge by being more accessible to the wider community in hopes of raising awareness about the experiences of Indigenous LGBTI people.

Yagumbeh Aboriginal Dancers feature in music video for US producer Steve Aoki
Indigenous talent takes a leading role in the new music video for international DJ legend Steve Aoki.
Black gay desire: Exhibition reveals the relevance of art in racial and sexuality politics
It took the loss of the photo negatives from his seminal work on black sexuality and desire, 'Looking for Langston', to get installation artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien thinking about preserving his work for a younger audience and the need to explore its relevance today.

Watch Black Divaz on NITV (Channel 34) on Thursday 1 March at 8.30pm. Catch up available On Demand. Join the conversation #BlackDivaz 

SBS will have an encore telecast of Black Divaz following its broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’s 40th anniversary on Sunday 4 March at 11pm.

Black Divaz will also be screening at Queer Screen’s 25th Mardi Gras Film Festival on Wednesday 28 February.