Longing Belonging Land

Longing Belonging Land
Longing Belonging Land
Longing Belonging Land


Melbourne International Arts Festival - Opening Night 2008

A public ceremony of personal commitment to healing and change

In this post apology era – where to from here?

Marking the ongoing significance, necessity and importance of the Federal Government's National Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Ngarra Jarra tree blazed, laden with ‘clooties’, at Birrarung Mar on the Opening Night of the Melbourne International Arts Festival 2008.

Longing, Belonging, Land from margie mackay on Vimeo.

Each ‘clootie’or cloth contained a hand written expression of commitment inspired by the Apology, by love of country or perhaps by the urgent need to ‘Close the Gap’ between Indigenous and Non_Indigenous communities.

A procession of illuminated shrines, a unique healing ceremony, fire ritual and dance all took place with Indigenous and Non_Indigenous performers, elders, artists and musicians at the foot of the Ngarra Jarra Tree.

The Ngarra Jarra tree was created as an interactive, site specific honouring of the Stolen Generations and was performed at Birrarung Mar, on the banks of the Yarra river in the centre of Melbourne. Ngarra Jarra translates as ‘Healing’ in Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people.

The 5m tall Ngarra Jarra Tree was covered with small red ‘clooties’; each woven in to the metres of fire rope that burned, releasing hopes and dreams for reconciliation and equity, at the peak of the ceremony.

Over 1000 clooties containing handwritten messages were created by children from Primary schools, community groups and local council reconciliation groups across Melbourne.

During the Opening Musical Event at Federation Square more clooties were collected from the audience and used as the final decoration of the Ngarra Jarra Tree, before the audience was led in procession to Birrarung Mar for the Longing Belonging Land fire ceremony.


Longing Belonging Land

Melbourne International Arts Festival 2008
AWED in OZ: Posted by dance_and_theatre , Reader : 594 , 00:28:51 | Category : Dance 2008 Theatre 2008 Melbourne, October 2008 http://blog.nationmultimedia.com/danceandtheatre/2008/10/22/entry-1

“Melbourne International Arts Festival 2008” kicked off on Thursday, October 9 evening with a free outdoor concert at Federation Square in the middle of the city, featuring diverse Melbourne-based musicians with various cultural backgrounds, such as the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, a collective of local African, jazz, and hip hop artists; a Middle Eastern group Unified Gecko and a Middle Eastern dance troupe Underbelly; and Haitian born soul singer Nadee and Senegambian Griot musician Jali Buba Kuyateh.
Ending with “Longing Belonging Land”, a ritual of reconciliation conceived by Margie Mackay, the overall atmosphere was eclectic, fun, and celebratory, and all led to notions that an arts festival should first reflect the cultural state of its host city, that is multi-cultural, and that the world is becoming increasingly “glocal.”

Fin by Kristy Edmunds


The Opening Night Celebration ... where more than 70 musicians who now call Australia and Melbourne home, absolutely took full flight in front of more than 3,000 gathered audience members. The parade following the Yarra River to hand to Margie Mackay's Longing Belonging Land. Aunty Joy and Aunty Caroline, Possum-skin coats and white face paint like a salve. For these elders and their ancestors, for all.


Longing, Belonging, Land Video collection Illuminated By Fire Dreamtime at the G Quiet Emergency Copy of Song of Ourselves Song of Ourselves The Aviatrix Song of Ourselves

Ritual Performance

Margie Mackay Ritual Performance


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