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Festival to celebrate culture through healing

Bourke’s Program Manager for Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Joseph Clarke is promoting the inaugural Mayi Festival. Photo Noel Fisher

Bourke is hosting a major art festival and artist-in-residence program this month.

The Arts and Cultural Exchange and the Bourke Centre of Excellence and Wellbeing are partnering to launch three artist residencies from May 23-27 followed by the inaugural MAYI Festival on May 28 at the Bourke Showground.

The artist residency program will bring together Western Sydney artists with young creative youth of the Bourke community.

The artists will deliver free creative development workshops from a range of disciplines including music production, live sound engineering, photography, and videography.

Artists-in-residence include Sydney-based music producer and owner of Trackwork rap label Austin Benjamin, photojournalist Dayvis Heyne, and audio engineer and co-founder of Western Sydney live music initiative Housewarming Collective, Shannon O’Riley.

Local Bourke artist Brian Smith has designed the artwork for the Festival.

The project is part of a new community wellbeing and arts engagement program and the realisation of a long-held goal for Bourke’s Program Manager for Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Joseph Clarke.

The program begins with intensive skills development workshops and ends with what organisers say will be an electrifying large-scale music festival headlined by some of Australia’s pre-eminent musicians.

Mr Clarke said the partnership will shine a spotlight on Bourke’s community and its burgeoning creative scene and was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with established artists and celebrate Bourke’s culture and community.

Cultural leaders from the 26 language groups across Bourke and surrounds, local businesses, community health and wellbeing services, regional arts initiatives, and a line-up of First Nations musicians will come together to focus on community, wellbeing and celebrating Far West NSW,” Mr Clarke said.

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