Warm embraces and salutations amongst earthy friends signaled the gentle ambiance awaiting within Upwey’s Burrinjar Cultural Centre. On Friday 22nd May, about 200 people attended ‘Creations’ Calling’, a celebration of humanities’ connection to the earth through creative expression. Hills community and city slickers alike gathered in support of the event, and were treated with an array of fine arts, music and physical performance while feasting on a sumptuous pot luck meal.
The centrepiece of ‘creations’ Calling’ was a stunning debut exhibition, ‘The Gaia Collection’ by Orly Faya. Her unique creative gift to the world is body painting, and more specifically painting people into their surrounding landscapes. Oceans, rock faces, jungles and skyscapes drape themselves in paint over faces, hair and naked body curves. With Faya’s artistic eye people merge into the vistas beyond in a dreamy union of paint and photography. These moving works seem to mirror the longing so many of us experience to feel at one with the earth and connect with our environment.
Born in Australia, and having travelled most of her adult life, Fayas’ journey into body paint and photography began 18 months ago in South America. In ceremony she became inspired to paint people into the local landscapes around the globe. Driven to remind people of their deep connection to the earth, she created 17 portraits in just 20 days, with a bounty of people eager to be painted into their surroundings. Her work has taken her from Guatemala to Costa Rica, Peru to California, and now we are blessed to have her back on Australian soil.
Ready to put on an exhibition, Faya put a call out on social media earlier this year for creatives to be part of the opening. She quickly attracted a wonderful array of musicians, dancers, artists and speakers, in a heart-warming community event.
At the opening, Burrinjars’ Gallery Space, lined with Fayas’ stunning images, also housed the poetry corner. It was filled with a constant stream of words and rhyme, punctuated with laughter, feeding eager ears with tales of love and wonder. Next door The Theatre had been transformed into a huge family gathering. Embraces, plates of food, jumpers and beanies and smiling faces spilled out luxuriously over picnic blankets, cushions and other bodies.
Magical tunes filled the air upon my arrival from the eclectic Elemental Voice, singing devotional tunes from around the globe, followed by eclectic and soulful tunes from Bloodwood and Christopher Bluesraver. For many singers it was the first time they had performed, with some original songs also added to the mix. The community shared their support with spontaneous harmonies and enthusiastic cheers adding to the rich tapestry of sound.
Euroynome then took to the stage with a breathtaking physical performance which had the audience mesmerised. Dance and theatre combined as seven dancers immersed the crowd in a deep journey of movement and connection. A tale of love then filled ears and hearts as Sisters for Sisters founder Ed’da brought her touching spoken words into the theatre.
Story continued with a stirring account from The Wilderness Societys’ Kevisato. He spoke of the parallels of his life which began in the Himalayas, to his work now in Melbourne. He is working with T.W.S. to spread awareness of hopes for a Great Forest National Park spanning 300 square kilometres to the east of Melbourne. Within that there are hopes to save the Mountain Ash and the Fairy Leadbeater possum which he spoke about with passion and dedication.
Ready to get moving, the audience was treated to some wonderful tunes from local talents Stajini Owlcat, Tara Walsh Trio and The Wednesday Experiment. Rich voices, deep beats and driving bass lines had almost the entire room up on their feet. All the while the stage was framed by Dana Elayev painting a live masterpiece on one side and an art installation on the other in the form of dancer Serra Stone painted by Faya.
After a few magical hours of taking in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that Creations’ Calling had to offer, one thing was more tangible than anything my physical senses could take in; The spirit of Community and Connection.
Faya would like to thank Burrinja Cultural Centre for the use of their beautiful space. And huge gratitude goes out to all the amazing creatives who brought it to life! As well as the aforementioned artists there was exceptional talent of tunes words and wisdom from Liana and her magical harp, Justine Walsh, Kiri Bear, Gizmo D, Marija Heart and Perma Pixie. And last but not least thanks to all who attended with offerings of delicious food, big hearts and open minds.
Environmental organisations, sponsors, and collaborators are invited to get in touch regarding an upcoming festival which is currently being planned! To contact Orly Faya and to join the mailing list for updates please visit www.orlyfaya.com
Written by Tjoni Johansen
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