Richard Walley’s Six Seasons & The Junkadelic Collective.

Artists do it without ‘dirty’ money

A NEW arts festival Brink has emerged promising to treat artists fairly and to challenge Fringe World’s acceptance of fossil fuel cash.

In recent years some artists have been growing increasingly uncomfortable with Fringe’s major sponsor being Woodside, a fossil fuel company that’s also been criticised for its handling of Aboriginal rock art in northern WA. 

Protests by artists at the 2020 Fringe led organisers to insert a clause in artists’ contracts for 2021 stating they must endeavour “to not do any act or omit to do any act that would prejudice any of Fringe World’s sponsorship arrangements… If you have an objection to a Fringe World sponsor, we ask that you consider whether participation in the festival is the right platform for your presentation.”

Brink’s Vivienne Glance says tells us concerns had been building that polluters frame themselves as good corporations through sponsorship, giving them social licence to continue polluting.

And “by giving fossil fuel corporations a licence to operate, [artists] could be seen as endorsing carbon pollution,” Glance says. “It puts artists in a very difficult position.”

“So Brink came about because we wanted to give artists a Fringe-type arrangement without taking fossil fuel money.

“It’s part festival, part protest, part activism, and part hope for the future. We would like people to start questioning these relationships.

“Brink for us is a celebration of artists taking back control, and it’s a celebration of us saying we don’t want to be silenced, we want to work within our values.”

They’ve been supported by Freo council and the festival is centred around Fremantle, hoping to lure Fringers south of the river for the shows from March 25 to 29.

The organisers are volunteers and Brink artists handle their own sales, and Brink puts Aboriginal artists front and centre. 

“We don’t see a lot of First Nations work in Fringe festival really, unless it’s a big company that’s doing it,” Ms Glance says. 

The flagship show, Richard Walley’s Six Seasons & The Junkadelic Collective, is a presentation of songs for each of the six Noongar seasons. Four Aboriginal lead singers, Tani Walker, Joel Davis, Natasha Eldridge and MC Flewnt, will back the veteran Noongar performer.

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