Lighting The Square and warming our hearts, the indigenous campfire, named Leempeeyt Weeyn’ in the Gunditjmara language of Western Victoria, returns to Fed Square this Saturday 5 August for over two weeks of gathering, storytelling, learning, celebration and cultural exchange. Created by Indigenous artist and Gunditjmara woman Vicki Couzens, the much-loved campfire is set to become a focal point in the square as it burns brightly and continuously until Sunday 20 August.
The opening ceremony will take place this Saturday from 4pm – 5pm. Themed Creation¸ creator Vicki Couzens will perform the Acknowledgement of Country along with Robert Bundle and ElderUncle Larry Walsh. As the fire is lit, a story about protecting the earth will be told through traditional dance with a contemporary edge, performed by Sermsah Bin Saad. Robert Bundle and Brett Lee will deliver powerful musical performances, singing about their own Aboriginal life stories.
Whilst the campfire holds particular significance for Indigenous cultures, its importance crosses cultural boundaries as the campfire in Fed Square becomes a meeting point and place of gathering. On Tuesday 8 and 15 August from 7.30am, Tai Chi classes will be held around the campfire; on Thursday 10 and 17 August at 8am, morning meditation will start the day whilst Health Qigong kick starts Friday 11 and 18 August at 8am.
Connect is the second Indigenous programming event on Saturday 19 August. From 4pm-6pm, four powerful Indigenous women, all with their own style and storytelling, will take to the stage in a must-see performance. Maylene Slater-Burnes, Crystal Clyne, Isobel Thompson and Shauntai Batzke bring their unique take on Indigenous storytelling. Maylene inspires conversations about identity and vulnerability; Crystal combines hip hop and jazz to express her Aboriginal/Greek family story; and Shauntai’s soaring opera notes will lift the audience with a new level of campfire performance.
The closing night on Sunday 20 August from 4pm is themed Blessing. Speeches of thanks, blessing all people of this land will lead to renowned Aboriginal opera singer, Deborah Cheetham AO¸ who will perform an original song ‘Wominjeka Birrarunga’ written in the Boon Wurrung language. An experience not to be missed. Poems from Indigenous writers Kalinda Palmer, Kate Clarke, Louis Mokak and Neil Morris will bring the campfire to a close as its fire is extinguished for another year, before a dance of blessing is performed by Culture Evolves, taking the closing words of purity with its smoke as it curls into the city air.
All of the Leempeeyt Weeyn’ – Indigenous Campfire events are free and the campfire will be burning continuously from Saturday 5 – Sunday 20 August in the square at Fed Square.