Celebrating NAIDOC with Indigenous Australian and Indonesian artist collaboration

A series of events across Jakarta celebrated Australia’s rich Indigenous cultures during NAIDOC week.

National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week is a celebration of the history, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Jakarta and the Australian Embassy got behind the celebrations as part of the Embassy’s #AussieBanget Diversity month, highlighting Australia’s multiculturalism through hosting a number of events including an exhibition and collaboration.

Of these events was a unique international art collaboration by Australian Indigenous artist Jandamarra Cadd and Indonesian artist Jerry Thung.

Cadd is descendent of the Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Warung people and acclaimed Aboriginal painter. Cadd’s art seeks to bridge the storytelling divide between Aboriginal & mainstream Australia. Through insightful, vibrant and emotive pieces Cadd’s art presents a peaceful voice for unity.

For the live art collaboration, Cadd worked with Bogor-born artist Thung to create an artwork representing the close connection relationships Indigenous Australian’s and Indonesian’s have had over generations. Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Paul Grigson said the joint artwork by Cadd and Thung followed a long history of collaboration between Australians and Indonesians.

“The relationship between our two countries is built on deep and strong personal connections between our people.

“As early as 1700, fishing communities in South Sulawesi made the voyage to Northern Australia to trade, forming new links and communities.”

The artwork bridges Australian Indigenous and Indonesian culture and land with bright colours, symbolic and mythical creatures of both lands.

Jandamarra Cadd and Jerry Thung live in action

The artwork is comprised of colourful sea turtles that swim between our two nations connecting them by sea and the dragons representative of mythical stories from across three Indonesian regions that fly between our countries. The artwork also includes traditional clouds, often seen in batik pieces, from Mega Mendung from Cirebon in West Java.

The artists shared that they wanted the artwork to depict the harmonious relationship between our two countries by the meeting of land and sea through the turtles and dragons.

As part of the celebrations, the Australian Embassy presented its Inaugural Exhibition Celebrating Indigenous Australian Cultures showing the richness and complexity of Australia’s Indigenous cultures.

In the exhibition, the Embassy brought together its collection of Indigenous art together in one place for the first time. A total of 50 artworks and photographs are drawn from three separate locations were on show at the Embassy, they included vibrant contemporary pieces to digital reproductions of bark art from the National Museum of Australia’s Old Masters exhibition.

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