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Victoria held its first ever Indigenous Literary Festival at the Wheeler Centre recently and Jesuit Social Services was proudly represented by Artful Dodgers Studios participant and spoken word artist 'Caution (Jonathan Binge).

The Blak & Bright Festival, presented by the First Nations Australia Writers' Network, featured workshops and music, panels, opera singing, poetry, spoken word, acting and writing, and attracted huge crowds.

Caution was asked to present some of his original poetry at a festival event where he joined established indigenous writers Sam Wagan Weston (Queensland) and Natalie Harkin from (South Australia).

Festival director Jane Harrison said ''Aboriginal people have always been story tellers – through oral traditions, dance, ceremony and art. Our stories carry culture and knowledge. Our story telling has evolved and now encompasses different genres and exquisite forms, poems, theatrical, spoken words, songs, fiction and non-fiction."

Harrison said the inclusion of Caution at the festival ''gave us a fresh new and vital voice. I know he is just starting out but he showed incredibly skills. Everybody at the festival was talking about him and how wonderful his presentation was.''

Caution has been developing his prose and raps over the past two years at home and at the Artful Dodgers Studios in Collingwood, where he works closely with in house producer and mentor Jesse Sullivan

''I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop music so it has always been there for me,'' said the young poet.

''Performing live is exciting and sure beats just sitting around doing nothing which is just plain boring. I really enjoyed myself at the festival and learnt a lot from just hanging out with the other writers.

''I had a friend who persuaded me to start writing rhymes and it all just flowed on from there,'' he said.

'My writing and recording with the Artful Dodgers helps me. It helps me give a voice to my inner feelings. It helps me find inner peace.''

The young rapper hails from the Gumbainggir clan from northern New South Wales and has a track called HOPE on the new Artful Dodgers Studios compilation CD Reverberate.




25 February 2016