January 26

January 26 marks the arrival of the first British ships on Sydney Cove, beginning the dispossession and unsolicited colonisation that continues to be felt and survived by First Nations and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this continent.

We cannot celebrate while the colony still stands.

This always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

We acknowledge that generations of First Nations people carry a cultural and creative continuum that is intimately connected to the community, lands and waters from which they come.

Theirs is a sovereign, living culture, where storytelling, knowledge and wisdom, grief and celebration continue to be practiced.

On the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Eastern Kulin Nations, we begin – many of us as settlers; carrying with us legacies of colonisation, displacement and migration – seeking refuge and finding home.

Next Wave is privileged to traverse the land and waterways of this continent of many nations – to share in the act of art making and culture building – grounded on justice, friendship and care.

We have much to listen to and learn; we have much to offer; we have much to do.

This always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

  1. Australian Aboriginal Flag. Artwork: Harold Thomas