Popular Mowanjum Arts Festival cancelled for 2023 in respect to a number of senior community deaths

Cain AndrewsBroome Advertiser
Young boys dancing together at the end of the Mowanjum Festival night.
Camera IconYoung boys dancing together at the end of the Mowanjum Festival night. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr/Broome Advertiser

One of the most unique Indigenous art festivals that draws thousands to the Kimberley each year has been cancelled for the year after the death of a number of senior Aboriginal leaders.

The Mowanjum Arts Festival, which is part of the Derby Boab Festival, was set to be held on June 6, but organisers have called it off for 2023.

“It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the Mowanjum Festival 2023 has been postponed to July 5, 2024,” organisers said in a statement.

“This very difficult decision has been made due to the immense loss of several senior cultural leaders who were founding members of the art centre and the MAF, and the most recent devastating loss last week of another cultural leader.

“We thank you for your understanding and support.”

The festival, which celebrates the culture of the Ngarinyin, Woddordda and Wunambal people and attracts thousands of people to Derby, was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary since launching in 1998.

But organisers said the highly successful arts event would make its return in 2024.

“We look forward to welcoming you back next year,” the statement said.

Festival organisers also confirmed those who have already purchased tickets will receive a refund.

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