Community Weekend

<p><b>Community Weekend</b></p>


Friday, 14 October 2022, 7:30pm

Saturday, 15 October 2022, 11:30pm


Benalla Art Gallery

97 Bridge St, Benalla VIC 3672

Registration and enquiries: T 03 5760 2619 or gallery@benalla.vic.gov.au

Cost: Free

Benalla Botanic Gardens

2A Bridge Street West, Benalla, Victoria, 3672

Registration and enquiries: T 03 5760 2619 or gallery@benalla.vic.gov.au

Cost: Free

Join us for a weekend of culture, food, learning and community celebration for the closing of Bush Diwan at Benalla Art Gallery. Curated by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A), the Community Weekend celebrates the legacy of community gathering, inspired by the story of Benalla local Siva Singh and his bringing together of Sikhs on his property in December 1920.

DAY 1 - Saturday 15 October 

6:30 - 7:30 am: 

Morning meditation: Japji Sahib and morning Kirtan at sunrise, Shepparton Sikh Gurdwara in the Bennett Gallery 

Begin your morning with a sunrise meditation session in the Bennett Gallery surrounded by the artworks in Bush Diwan. 

Japji Sahib is the Sikh prayer that appears at the beginning of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and is performed in the morning and evening. Japji Sahib will be followed by kirtan (devotional music) performed by Granthis from the Shepparton Sikh Gurudwara. Langar (free vegetarian community kitchen) will be provided by the Gurdwara. 

Anyone is welcome to join the morning meditation. A specific protocol of worship exists for the event to ensure respectful conduct. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be modestly attired
  • Cover your head with a scarf or bandana
  • Remove your shoes
  • Wash hands, and feet if needed.
  • Sit quietly on the floor with your legs crossed, and face towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib or Granthis.
  • Accept prasad, a sweet made from flour, butter, and sugar
  • Enjoy a vegetarian meal from the free langar kitchen

10 - 11 am and 3 - 4pm: 

Phulkari workshop: Amardeep Shergill

in the Patricia Gardner Studio

Join Amardeep Shergill to learn the basics of phulkari. Amardeep will teach, share and facilitate a workshop in this uniquely Punjabi textile and embroidery practice, taking inspiration from her sculptural works in Bush Diwan, as well as the beautiful surroundings of Benalla’s Botanic Garden. 

11 am - 12 pm: 

Performance: Anindita Banerjee Transient Temples

in the Botanic Garden 

Anindita Benarjee will remount her ritualised performance installation Transient Temples on Saturday morning. For an hour, Anindita will connect with a local tree in the Botanic Garden and tie Mauli—which are red strings worn by Hindus on their wrists for puja or religious ceremony—around her chosen tree. 

The ritual allows Anindita to contemplate her place as a migrant on the unceded and colonised First Nations lands of Australia. In turn, she shares this experience with the visitors of Benalla Art Gallery, encouraging them to reflect on the process of settling and reclaiming ceremonies of faith and gathering. 

12 - 1 pm: 

In conversation: First Nations and migrant solidarity, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa and Perun Bonser

Join Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa and Perun Bonser for a discussion on the dialogues between their individual creative practices and respective Sikh and First Nations cultures. Working across performance, poetry, photography and moving image, the artists will be discussing calls to action, justice and migrant solidarity with First Nations communities. Drawing from their works exhibited in Bush Diwan, their dialogues will traverse their multidisciplinary practices and the process of seeking solidarity in one another. 

12 - 3 pm: 

Community music, food & connections 

Gather in the gardens surrounding Benalla Art Gallery to be immersed in music and food from local Punjabi community of  Benalla and surrounding area. Soak up the atmosphere, listen to some tunes and leisurely drink chai tea and lassi catered by Tandoori Hut Benalla and food catered by the Nice Kurry Place food truck. 

2 - 3 pm: 

Day Dream Workshop: Manisha Anjali in the Botanic Garden

In this workshop, we will commune with our inner worlds in relation to the flowers, trees and animals in the Benalla Botanic Gardens. We will explore poetry making through daydream and play, by way of an improvised walk and guided writing session. As a group, we will play and perform symbols from our garden walks.  Facilitated by writer and artist Manisha Anjali.

3 - 4 pm: 

Poetry workshop with Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa 

in the Bennett Gallery 

Award-winning spoken word artist, educator and human rights advocate Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa will lead participants through a writing and poetry workshop in the Bennett Gallery. Bring along your ideas to jot down on paper and take inspiration from the art and gardens around you as Sukhjit shares her knowledge and tips for writing poetry. 

Sunday 16 October 

10:30 - 11:30 am: 

Panel talk: Bush Diwan artists, including Anindita Banerjee, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Perun Bonser and Amardeep Shergill

To celebrate the final day of Bush Diwan, we invite you to gather at the gallery to hear from the artists Anindita Banerjee, Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, Perun Bonser and Amardeep Shergill. The artists will be sharing their perspectives on Bush Diwan, their processes and reflections on the contemporary reimagining of Siva Singh’s story