News / Asia

Australia's Aboriginal Cultural Resurgence as New TV Drama Airs

Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011. Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
x
Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
Aboriginal men perform part of the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony with their contemporary interpretation of a creation story from the Yuin people during Australia Day celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 26, 2011.
Phil Mercer
Australia’s first-ever indigenous television drama has had its premiere on national television.  Redfern Now explores the gritty reality of drugs and poverty in an inner city district of Sydney, and is part of a cultural resurgence within Aboriginal Australia. 

Redfern Now is the first Australian TV drama produced by indigenous writers and directors, who worked in collaboration with the award-winning British scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern. 

The six-part series features a mostly Aboriginal cast.  It took two years to film and was partly funded by the Australian government.

TV critic David Knox says it’s a realistic depiction of life in Redfern, an inner suburb of Sydney.

“One of the things that really strikes me about this series is that in the face of adversity, where it’s poverty, alcoholism [or] violence, it is the unconditional love that comes to the fore here,” he said.  

Redfern has had a troubled past.  There were riots in 2004, and while poverty and disadvantage persist, tribal elders say the new TV series will be a source of great pride for the indigenous community.

The series is being shown on Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC.

Producer Rachel Perkins says Redfern Now follows other recent Aboriginal artistic successes in film, dance and theater.

“There’s been a lot of investment to get where we have, and it is a moment to mark and celebrate, I think, that we are now on, you know, the ABC in [a] primetime slot showing this great, quality content that is punching above its weight, and some of the best content [and) filmmaking that is coming out of Australia at the moment,” said Perkins. 

Redfern Now is partly produced by the Aboriginal team that worked on the acclaimed Australian film, The Sapphires. It was released earlier this year and tells the story of four young Aboriginal women who were discovered by a talent scout singing in the Australian outback and who went on to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam. 

Based on a true story, the indigenous singers were plucked from obscurity and named The Sapphires, and were billed as Australia's answer to the famous American group, The Supremes.

Indigenous dances troupes and artists have also enjoyed success in recent years, as Australia discovers a deeper appreciation of a heritage that stretches back more than 50,000 years.  It has brought positive benefits.  The making of Redfern Now created about 250 jobs for Aborigines in Sydney.

Aborigines make up about 2 percent of Australia’s population, and are by far the country’s most disadvantaged group, suffering disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment and ill-health.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid