hART and soul of town going strong

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Patrick Churnside.
Camera IconPatrick Churnside. Credit: Michael Wilson

A charity group in Roebourne that uses art and culture to empower the community has reached a significant milestone, celebrating a decade of work in the Pilbara town.

Big hART was first invited to work in Roebourne in 2010 by senior female elders and has since run various programs in the town to help engage with children.

The organisation, which was first launched in Australia in 1992, has worked in more than 50 communities in urban, rural, regional, and remote Australia.

The charity’s first activity was the five-year Yijala Yala Project, an inter-generational cultural arts project that aimed to highlight Roebourne’s cultural heritage and focus on music, dance, theatre, and digital media.

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After the Yijala Yala Project wrapped in 2015, Big hART started the New Roebourne initiative to continue offering new learning opportunities for children and adults.

Big hART Roebourne producer Aimee Kepa said it was a proud moment to reach 10 years in Roebourne.

“It’s exciting to see the history of the work and the opportunities that are going to come up in the future,” she said.

Ms Kepa said highlights for her were the Songs for Peace concert and the digital workshop program.

“The confidence of the young people we are working with has developed, and the technical aptitude they have,” she said.

“There are amazing musicians and songwriters in Roebourne as well, and seeing how they drive the projects is a really nice thing to observe.”

Ms Kepa said the Digital Lab provided children with the chance to learn how to use filming and editing software and digital media.

“They’re exciting, kids enjoy them, and it provides them with an opportunity to be creative, but they are also building important skills for the next generation,” she said.

Big hART board member and performer Patrick Churnside, pictured, said arts and culture was a way for people to portray their identity.

“Arts and culture means connection and community, it’s a way of life,” he said.

“The positive energy and approach they’ve brought to Roebourne has helped support our community’s hopes for the future, facilitating change and new pathways.”

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