It's that time of the year again – and there's no shortage of events taking place across Sydney to mark Australia Day on Sunday. Enjoy a night of live music, poetry and First Nations stories and traditions amid campfire-side glows at the The Vigil to be held at Barangaroo Reserve. You can watch the world's finest wheelchair athletes blast past at record pace as they compete in the annual 10k wheelchair race at The Rocks. For a dash of the theatrical, a spectacular ballet performance featuring tug boats, jet-skis, ferries and yachts will take place at Sydney Harbour. In western Sydney, Parramatta Park will transform into an old school carnival straight from a 1930s film. Marvel at hot air balloon displays, participate in a Big Barbecue Competition, explore vintage cars and hop on thrilling rides.
The Vigil, Saturday and Sunday, 8pm-6am, Barrangaroo Reserve, free, sydneyfestival.org.au; Tug and Yacht Ballet, Sunday, 1205-1215pm, Circular Quay, free, cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au; Parramatta Festival, Sunday, 6am -9pm, Parramatta Park, free, discoverparramatta.com; Summer Down Under Oz Day 10K, Sunday, 845- 1030am, The Rocks, free, wsnsw.org.au
Experience some thrilling rides this Australia Day. Credit:Adam McLean AMZ
The visitors, a theatre show exploring colonial beginnings. Credit:The Sydney Festival
Turn back time and witness an imaginative retelling of the First Fleet's arrival in Australia in 1788. The Gadigal people are faced with a fleet of mighty ships descended upon their shore. Should they welcome these newcomers or fight against the intruders? The poignant musical, from playwright Jane Harrison, follows the debates and strategies of seven senior law men.
Saturday and Sunday, 3-4pm, Carriageworks, $39-$45, sydneyfestival.org.au
The passing of famed Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu in 2017 sparked an outpouring of grief as the world mourned a musician that crossed boundaries and infused Indigenous beats with Western grooves. Paying tribute to Geoffrey's legacy, his family members and Yolŋgu songmen perform melodies from Gurrumul's posthumous album and traditional songs that have been passed down through thousands of generations. A multi-sensory experience, audiences are treated to traditional dances and ceremonial rituals and sacred tradition.
Saturday, 1-2.30pm; Sunday, 6-7.30pm, Sydney Opera House, $50 – $80, sydneyfestival.org.au
Concert pays homage to Indigenous musician, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.Credit:The Sydney Festival
26 VIEWS OF ULURU
An exhibition unearthing what history textbooks have omitted.Credit:Gaffa Gallery
Using etchings and aquatints, Alex Byrne unveils the untold truth behind the dispossession and invasion of Indigenous land. Like a theatre performance, each artwork recreates a graphic scene and paints a picture of resilience through traumatic times. Distressed journals also accompany the exhibition, with corrective notes placed within history text books to showcase what modern history has left in the dark.
Until February 3, Monday- Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 11am-5pm, Gaffa Gallery, free, gaffa.com.au
THE HAT PROJECT
Enter a different type of art exhibition: one that uses sculptural hats to communicate a distinct story. Aboriginal elders, artists and participants united together to discuss how history has impacted and shaped their identity. The touching stories were then transformed into hats, each referencing specific eras in history. While the hats reflect their personality and narrate their tenacious tales, the accompanying personal memorabilia bring their experiences to life.
Until 22 March, 9am-5pm, Penrith Regional Gallery, free, penrithregionalgallery.com.au
Using hats to tell Indigenous stories. Credit:Penrith Regional Gallery
It's only the second time in history that Beyonce's sister Solange is performing her Witness! show. The R&B icon will perform favourites from her albums A Seat at the Table and When I Get Home. Her masterful vocals will be set to a dreamy backdrop composed of vibrant lights, cosmic architecture and futuristic special effects and accompanied by a suite of more than 30 musicians and performers. Solange's smooth and crisp harmonies are layered over an ensemble of brass, strings and punchy bass.
Monday-Friday, 8-9:15pm, $89 – $249, Sydney Opera House, sydneyoperahouse.com
Solange brings her Witness! tour to Australia.Credit:Sydney Opera House
DANCE FOR SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH PARKINSON'S
People older than 55 can get their feet tapping as part of a dancing for seniors program. Don't stress if you're not quite ready to pirouette, there will be soft stretches and light choreography set to soothing classical tunes. A dance class tailored to the needs of people with Parkinson's will also be available. The fun-filled hour is designed to enhance agility – with carers, friends and family also encouraged to attend. The dance moves are simple and perfect for beginners.
Dance For Seniors, Tuesday, 2.30-3.30pm, Centenary Uniting Church, $10; Dance For People With Parkinson's, Tuesday, 1-2.15pm, Centenary Uniting Church, $10, form.org.au
DROP IN AND MAKE: YEAR OF THE RAT
Get crafty and creative while immersing yourself in the Lunar New Year spirit. The year of the rat brings wealth and opulence, so why not create your own fun piece of rodent-inspired artwork? Bring the kids and build a custom rat at the Art Gallery of NSW. Not an artist? Don't worry, detailed instructions and material will be provided.
Sunday, 11am-3.30pm, Art Gallery NSW, free, artgallery.nsw.gov.au
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