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Workshops light up the Walgett Community

Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (WAMS), in the Northern outback of NSW, recently secured funding through the 2016 Country Arts Support Program (CASP) for a series of children’s lantern and fire sculpture workshops.

The CASP funds were used to engage Philip Relf, artistic director IKARA Celebratory Events, to travel to Walgett and deliver the workshops.  IKARA is a site specific theatre company that specialises in working with communities, both big and small, to devise, make and celebrate what is important to them.

Philip started working with the Walgett community in late 2015, delivering a hands- on “How To Make” lantern workshop to a number of WAMS staff and a group of students from St Joseph’s Primary School.  The WAMS participants from this first workshop will now take their newly minted skills into the classrooms of other local primary schools, to assist with the next round of workshops when Philip returns in late February.

The lanterns and fire sculptures created in the upcoming workshops will be used at the public launch of the Respect Project, and to celebrate 30 years of WAMS later this year.  The IKARA website notes that “for a community to make and parade lanterns that they have made themselves, is an empowering experience for both the participants and onlookers alike”.  The community of Walgett is certainly well on its way to creating a unique celebration of their local identity and culture.

The Country Arts Support Program is a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and local Regional Arts Boards on behalf of the NSW Government.