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Blak Powerhouse rtns for 26-Jan “formidable

Lauren McNamara, R/GA and We Are Warriors’ Blak Powerhouse returns on January 26, Mumbrella, 16 January 2024

Creative innovation studio R/GA and Indigenous social enterprise We Are Warriors are set to bring Blak Powerhouse back to Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum for the second year in a row on January 26.

The event full of live music, dance, art, food and discussion, aims to turn a day known for great loss into one of power and positivity for First Nations peoples.

R/GA launched the We Are Warriors platform two years ago in collaboration with Yuin Nation hip hop artist, producer and radio host, Nooky (Corey Webster) to drive positive change in the lives of Indigenous youth.

The platform engages with Indigenous youth communities in Australia through various content series of interviews, community-run workshops, and limited edition merchandise. Proceeds raised from the merchandise sales are invested into further content development, to continue to build awareness among everyday Australians.

Ben Miles, VP, executive creative director, brand design and consulting APAC at R/GA, said at the time of launch: “Systemic racism and the events that unfolded globally over the past two years, serve as a reminder of the continued changes needed in our society. For Indigenous youth growing up in Australia, there has not been an accessible platform to discover relatable, First Nations role models.

“The goal is to educate ourselves more deeply on the issues Indigenous peoples face, and create an environment in which all Australians feel seen, heard, and have equal opportunity.”

Blak Powerhouse describes itself as “a night for all ages – mob, allies and advocates” and will present work from various Indigenous artists, as well as a screening of We Are Warriors’ 2022 documentary, ‘Through the Fire’.

Last year we put on Blak Powerhouse and the sense of Blak joy we created was so overwhelming for me, and I know all the mob who attended felt the same,” Nooky said.

“There was so much power and resilience in the day for me it changed how I felt about January 26. If we can capture that same feeling this time around, in my eyes it’s a win.”

After the intense challenges faced by Indigenous communities in 2023, mainly due to the contention around the Voice to Parliament referendum, Miles explained that championing the community, and loving and supporting one another, has never been more important.

“Australia is so clearly still a very divided country,” he said. “So, on a day that’s so polarising, we wanted to take control of the narrative, put a spotlight on Blak excellence and tell Indigenous communities they are loved, they are seen. They are heard. That they are warriors.

“There’s a long way to go, and Blak Powerhouse is a bold move and an invitation for First Nation Peoples, allies and advocates to come together and be part of a Blak Future.”

Powerhouse asociate director, First Nations, Beau James said the event is a “formidable reclamation” for Indigenous communities.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aren’t defined by a date or a vote, and the scale of this amazing event makes it clear– since the first sunrise and until the last sunset, we are always here. Powerhouse is very honoured to be partnering for a second year with We Are Warriors.”

Lisa Havilah, chief executive of the museum, added: “The Powerhouse Museum is proud of our partnership with We Are Warriors and to be supporting the very best in First Nations contemporary cultural practice. Blak Powerhouse has already in its second year become an epically important event on Sydney’s cultural calendar.”

The evening will be streamed live on SBS’ NITV from 5pm.