Indigenous Australia will make its mark at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival with 14 culturally unique events showcasing different cultural aspects of Australia’s first people.
World premiere art exhibition, Traces of Cherry will make its debut, paying tribute to the Aboriginal cricket team that toured England in 1868, becoming the first cricket team to represent Australia on an international level.
Creator of Traces of Cherry, artist Heather Lee, first learned about the Indigenous team when she visited the Victorian hometown of their most revered cricketer, Johnny Mullagh.
“I guess what really struck me with Johnny Mullagh’s story, is that he represented his nation and also Aboriginal Australia, and when they returned from the tour, a lot of the players ended up on missions," she told NITV News.
Ms Lee’s exhibition looks deeper into the circumstances surrounding the journey of the historical team, showcasing their story through Indigenous history, personal narrative and sport.
“Traces of Cherry is really about unraveling the cricket ball and looking at it more deeply – I guess in a conceptual way – getting people to consider the experiences of the Aboriginal team more thoroughly,” she said.
Ms Lee said it was a tragic story which resonated with her and she wanted to tell it through her personal narrative.
Also making its debut appearance over the weekend was the Dupang Festival, bringing a three day cultural experience to the river banks of the Coorong on the Ngarrindjeri people’s land.
Ngarrindjeri Elder and cultural performer, Major “Moogy” Sumner said people came from all over Australia and even as far as England to learn about the teachings of his people.
“There were Aboriginal people from everywhere and non-Aboriginal people from everywhere,” he said.
“A lot of them learnt about the Ngarrindjeri – I think it’s important for everyone to learn about the corroborees and learn about the Aboriginal people and our stories.
“We have to teach everyone to respect the country by true dance.
Adelaide Fringe Director, Heather Croall said they held a sunset ceremony each year to officially open the Fringe and celebrate the local Kaurna culture because it was vitally important to showcase Indigenous art and performance.