The Blak Markets will return to Sydney’s spectacular harbour headland park, Barangaroo Reserve, with an Aboriginal art market on Sunday, 2 July. Taking place at the beginning of NAIDOC Week, the family-friendly event will be a celebration of Australia’s rich and varied Aboriginal culture as well as a market.

Artists from 11 remote art centres will bring their paintings, sculptures, textiles and artefacts to Sydney to exhibit and sell at the market. Tjanpi weavers will host workshops; Mimi Arts & Crafts will demonstration Rarrk painting and pandanus weaving, and several NSW grous will be dancing.

The event is a rare opportunity for Sydneysiders to buy Aboriginal art ethically and directly from artists from distant NT, WA and SA communities. There will be artwork and products on sale to suit a range of budgets.

The open-air market will also feature more than 30 stalls, bush tucker cooking demonstrations by The Black Olive (Mark Olive), Indigiearth and Jody Orcher; live music by Emma Donovan, Marcus Corowa, Yallah Mundee Mallin-gan, and Freshwater; Aboriginal dance performances by Thikkabilla (Dubbo), YadhaMayi (Central Coast), and Wagana (Greater Sydney); language and culture workshops; Aboriginal Cultural Tours of Barangaroo Reserve; and a Tribal Warrior Tour to Goat Island.

The art centres making this trek to Sydney are:
APY Art Centre Collective from Amata, SA with artists Mary Pan, Niningka Lewis and Tjungkaya Tapaya
The Babbarra Women’s Centre from Maningrida in Arnhemland with artist Deborah Wurrkidj Martumili Artists from the Pilbara in WA)
Mimi Aboriginal Arts and Crafts from Katherine in the NT with artist Eddie Blitner
Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency from Fitzroy Crossing
Tangentyere Artists & Yarrenyty Arltere Artists from Alice Springs with award-winning soft sculpture artist Marlene Rubuntja, daughter of the noted painter, Mervyn Rubuntja
Warlukurlangu Artists from Yuendumu, NT, with artist Alma Nungarrayi Granites “ daughter of the late superstars Paddy Japaljarri and Bessie Nakamarra Sims
Artists of Ampilatwatja in the NT and Bula’bula Arts from Ramingining in Arnhemland are both sending their art centre managers

Here are some of the highlights of the Schedule:
11.00am Opening Ceremony including Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
11.00am Weaving commences (all day /weaving tent)
11.20am Dance performance “ Wagana Aboriginal Dancers sin the sand circle
11.20am Rarrk painting workshop in the weaving tent
11.30am Me-mel (Goat Island) cultural tour departing from Town’s Place, West Wharf in Walsh Bay
11.40am Cooking Demonstration “ Blak Olive (cooking demo area)
12.15am Music performance “ Marcus Corowa on the stage
12.30pm Pandanus weaving demonstration “ Mimi Aboriginal Art and Craft (weaving tent)
12.30pm Aboriginal Cultural Tour of Barangaroo Reserve
1.20pm Music Performance “ Jessie Lloyd and Emma Donovan (stage)
2.00pm Tjanpi Weaving Workshop in the weaving tent
2.00pm Aboriginal Language and Culture Workshop in the Info Tent (the Theme for NAIDOC week)
4.20pm Closing Ceremony (sand circle)
5.00pm Markets close

I’ve also noted weekday lunch time Indigenous film screenings at the MCA from Monday 3 July at 12.30pm. The screenings include selected films by the Mulka Project at Yirrkala; the documentary Tall Man about events on Palm Island, and that wonderful film in language from Arnhemland, Ten Canoes on Friday.