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Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival

Monique Grbec talks us through the highlights of this month's celebration of world Indigenous artists
Deadly Melbourne Koorie Maker's Market
Photograph: Yanni Photography & Digital Art
By Monique Grbec |

'Yirramboi' means tomorrow in the shared languages of the Boon Wurrung and Woi Wurrung peoples of Melbourne. Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival is your invitation to explore the unexpected and discover more than just dots and didgeridoos and serious and spiritual storytelling. We invite you to celebrate with us the diversity and individuality of First Nations artists leading 21st-century arts from across Melbourne, Australia and around the world. Over ten days in May, Yirramboi provides an unparalleled opportunity to create a global hub for international contemporary arts and cultural exchange. Remove time-worn labels, shake off old language and dream with us, into the future.

Wominjeka. Welcome to Yirramboi.
Jacob Boehme, creative director of Yirramboi

Yirramboi events

Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival Burrun Ganbu
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Burrun Ganbu

Rise, unite and be inspired as you join Australian and international First Nations peoples to open Yirramboi. A smoking ceremony led by respected Elders will be followed by a First Nations Fabulous dance party, hosted by the divine MissEllaneous and featuring electro-soul, queer, and gender-bending artists, including Electric Fields.

BONEO MAZE LANTASIA DREAMING Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival
Photograph: Yanni
Things to do, Markets

Koorie Maker’s Market

Celebrating Melbourne’s vibrant Koorie arts scene, Bunjilaka will be brimming with Indigenous artists including print-makers, cloak-makers, multimedia producers, weavers, sculptors, story-tellers and more. Watch creation stories come to life with Lantasia’s lantern display, see artists practicing and talking about their crafts, buy something you love at the market stalls or be inspired and take part in a workshop.

Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival Circle
Photograph: Supplied


One minute before midnight, be bathed in the beauty of a moon-drenched soundscape by Wiradjuri artist Naretha Williams. Williams’ composition project, called Cryptex, uses DNA templates to create song cycles based on the six traditional seasons of the Kulin Nation and celestial knowledge systems. Her unusual harmonics and textural soundscapes promise to hypnotise and reverberate through your body connecting you to the earth and your Koorie country.

Migrants around the fire Aryo Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival
Photograph: Constantinis
Things to do


You choose! In this world premiere of Welsh LARP (live action role playing) you will step into the fictional role of a tribesman intent on claiming sacred land. There is no audience, just you and 29 other curious beings divided into three very different tribes. How far will you go to claim your land? What will you do to protect your tribe? This First Nations’ production is by international award winning film- and theatre-maker Bethan Marlow. Be brave and get in on the action.

Barring Yanabul Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Barring Yanabul

Get your map from the Yirramboi website and spend the day in the world’s most liveable city being delighted, surprised and awed. Laneways, streets, parks, and secret spaces of Melbourne will come alive with fun, provocative music, dance, spoken word, interviews, and art by First Nations artists. Make sure you find Briggs touring on a trailer, plus surprise tram sessions and appearances by Bad Apples and African Idol.

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Deadly Melbourne Paola Balla
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Things to do

Deadly Melbourne

Get to know the fiercely talented men and women making our city a deadlier place by shaping Melbourne’s future across many different fields.

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