Sam Cook is a member of the Nyikina nation of the western Kimberley and grew up surrounded by the arts. Her career has taken her through performing in music and theatre, literature, visual arts and executive arts management. Sam started working in publishing through Magabala Books in home-town Broome; for six years she held the position of Executive Producer of Perth’s Yirra Yakin Theatre; most recently, she’s been developing international partnership programs and lecturing on Indigenous Arts Management through the Wilin Centre at the Victorian College of the Arts and launching her own company, KISSmyBLAKartsâ„¢.

Ms Cook had to take over the Directorship of the 5 year old Dreaming Festival at short notice when founding director Rhoda Roberts departed for another festival in Arnhemland “ the legendary Garma Festival, which has never had an artistic director before. Sam’s program forward says she had less than a month’ to pull it all together and still maintain the festival’s reputation as a culturally relevant event of contemporary and traditional Indigenous culture, which has seen attendances grow from 5,000 in 2005 to 23,000 in 2009.

All artforms are there in 2010 as well as a myriad workshops and forums. The protocols are also important with a ceremonial opening and closing from the four clans of the Jinibara Nation “ the Dungidau, Dala, Nalbo and Garumaga “ who are the keepers of the lands on which The Dreaming is celebrated around Woodford in South Eastern Queensland.

In Dance, there are the Mornington Island and Doomadgee dancers, a Cree Hoop Dance from Alberta and Pan Pipes from The Solomons.

In Theatre, there’s everything from a Nyoongar massacre comedy (!) to Sudanese migrant community theatre, with the effervescent Ursula Yovich doing a one-woman show in between.
In Music, 58 different acts include the first ever Krump Band (called Grrilla Step), musics from the Pacific and Canada, Dan Sultan and Archie Roach and a tremendous tribute to the late Ruby Hunter.

No fewer than 85 films are on the program “ from the moving ‘Samson and Delilah’ to a series of Mexican shorts via the important indigenous output of Yolgnu artists in Yirrkala “ the Mulka Project.

The Visual Arts are lower key than performance; but Kamahi King, aka drag cabaret artiste, Constantina Bush, will also show a more traditional side of himself through a gallery of paintings. Kamahi’s works explore the world of DNA through the fine lines in our fingerprints. Exquisitely coloured with pastel and ochre tones, Kamahi is a significant contemporary artist.
Fijian artist and curator Letila Mitchell brings the Pacific to The Dreaming through a stunning exhibition of carvings and canvases. The Pasifika gallery is one not to be missed with 25 artists accompanying their works and offering Tapa, flower weaving and bodypaint workshops.
Acclaimed New Zealand-based contemporary artist Michel Tuffery will also present works whose style is a collision of his Samoan, Rarotongan and Tahitian heritage, infused with social commentary and everyday life.

On the Northern Territory border below the Gulf of Carpentaria is the community of Doomadgee, home to three tribal groups, the Gangalida, Waanyi and Garawa. Their Doomadgee Gallery at The Dreaming will show works strong in culture and unique to this region.

Don’t be afraid to bring the kids – there’s the ‘Yung ppls Soundtage’ for them to shine, and the Jarjum/Kids Place for them to be entertained.

My favourite event? How about ‘We Have Survived, Now What?’ featuring local custodian Noel Blair and urban activist Gary Foley “ together in The Dingo Shed!

To purchase programmes, discounted tickets and view the full programme, go to: or call 07 5496 1066.