Today is the soft launch of SugarFest 2020, a festival of Oceanic culture history and music run by the Australian South Sea Islanders Port Jackson (ASSIPJ) in Sydney and sponsored by the City of Sydney. Originally I was planning to run three embroidery and applique workshops today but due to Covid 19 and border restrictions, these have been postponed till Survival Day on 26th January, 2021. I was very honoured to be named as a Community Advocate for this organisation earlier this year due to my involvement in the development of the Yumi Olgeta:Crafting a More Inclusive Democracy collaboration with ASSIPJ and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Canberra. I look forward to travelling to Sydney in late January to support Australian South Sea Islanders to express their feelings and tell their story in thread and cloth. There will also be a free pdf of the Instruction Booklet designed by Lisa Christensen of Three Branches Design available on-line so that anyone can participate in this stage of the project.
The participants will be invited to return their embroidered motifs to ASSIPJ by mid April 2021. These will then be patchworked into a large quilt along with three weavings from the Napen Napen Cultural Women in Port Vila, Vanuatu and 40 chain stiched shells created in the first workshop and beyond. Some of you may remember Josephine from our the first workshop at the Museum of Australian Democracy in August 2019. She has coordinated a team of five local Vanuatu artists to create work to our requirements and they have done a terrific job.
I wish the ASSIPJ team and community all the best today for the soft launch of SugarFest 2020 and if all goes to plan I look forward to meeting more members of the community in January during my workshops. More information about the workshops and the Instruction Booklet will be available in January 2021.