While we wait for Vivid to return, there’s another festival of art and light that you def need to check out this month. Curated Stories in Light will set Warrane (Sydney Cove) ablaze from May 19 to 23. It’s the sort of festival that rewards the curious, transforming the city’s lesser-known nooks and crannies with First Nations, Black and Brown, queer and activist stories. It’s been curated by filmmaker and producer Jacqui North in collaboration with Illuminart Australia.
Love & Revolution lights up Tallawoladah (The Rocks) with illuminated artworks, song and slam poetry, calling for a peaceful uprising driven by women reclaiming the streets. You’ll be able to hear powerful poetry from award-winning poet and Arab-Australian human rights lawyer Sara Saleh, and see a stunning new mural by street artist Ms Saffa that pays tribute to the dear departed queer priestess of poetry Candy Royalle.
The Sydney Eye Hospital will play host to visual artist, photographer and filmmaker John Janson-Moore’s work Contact Trace. It’s a moving portrait captured in the canvas of hundreds of photographs captured during last year’s lockdowns, written large on the hospital’s historic southern archway on Macquarie Street. It creates a mesmerising portal, accompanied by stirring music from composer Andrée Greenwell and narration by the inimitable Uncle Jack Charles.
Artist Leanne Tobin, a Dharug woman, reclaims the old colonial sandstone walls of Angel Place to trace First Nations stories on their surfaces for Bungaree. Her projection art will cast its glow over the spot where the Tank Stream once flowed, and where the Gadigal people crafted stone tools. Bungaree of the Garigal clan (Broken Bay) was a teenager when the First Fleet sailed through the heads. He went on to become a diplomat, interpreter and witty mimic of the colonials. He circumnavigated the country with the Royal Navy, but unlike Captain Flinders and his cat, there’s no statue for Bungaree. Tobin’s work writes him back into the story.
“For me, it’s that underlying landscape, underlying country,” Tobin says. “It might be covered in concrete, but those rivers and creeks are still running through this place. They still retain and hold those stories of country.”