Acclaimed actor David Gulpilil to visit Southern Cross University

Published 8 February 2007

Acclaimed Indigenous actor David Gulpilil will give a public talk on peace and healing during Orientation Week at Southern Cross University.

Mr Gulpilil will be welcomed to kuntri by Bundjalung, Arakwal, Widjabal and Yaegal Elders at a gathering being hosted at Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples next week and give his public talk the following week on Tuesday, February 20, at 12 noon in the Whitebrook Theatre, at the Lismore campus.

Lecturer at Gnibi College, Bilyana Blomeley, said he was pleased the college could act as a nexus to bring together Aboriginal people from the east coast of Australia with such a renowned artist and peace activist from the northern areas of Arnhem Land.

“This unification is a good example of how we hope to one day provide a bridge between all peoples of the world,” he said.

“It is also an honour for us to be able to host a public talk by someone as important as Mr Gulpilil, who is renowned throughout the world both as a superb actor and tribal dancer, as well as an accomplished storyteller, writer and peace and social justice activist.

“He has dedicated himself to the service of his own Indigenous community and has a particular focus on the problems of Aboriginal youth and on peace and healing.”

Mr Gulpilil has appeared in many groundbreaking films – from Walkabout in 1971, to Rabbit-proof Fence and the recent highly acclaimed Ten Canoes. He is also a traditional member and Elder of the Yolngu people.

“Mr Gulpilil revolutionised Australian filmmaking by bringing Aboriginal culture to the screen and he continues to lead the way,” Mr Blomeley said.

Mr Gulpilil is visiting the region to support a new peace film, Think About It, in which he plays a starring role.

Think About It makes the point about the importance of creating harmony and peace in our own communities and nation as well as abroad, and especially focuses on the need to heal the unresolved grief and suffering between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The film is being launched at the Byron Bay Film Festival on February 24.

Filmed and directed by Richard and Wendy Friar, of Suffolk Park, the film seeks to spread a global message of peace and through this, create positive cultural and social change throughout the world, Mr Friar said.

“We want to give people a strong grasp on what is really happening in the world and demonstrate simple, positive ways we can all contribute to healing the planet and fostering cooperation, love and support across all cultural and religious divisions,” Mr Friar said.

In the film, Mr Gulpilil presents an Indigenous perspective on peace and healing, joining luminaries like UK Professor John Keane, founder of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster, Andrew Wilkie, an Australian Government intelligence officer who resigned in protest over the misrepresentation of intelligence information, Senator Bob Brown, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Peter Garrett, Cindy Sheehan, international peace spokesperson, Allan Madden, Indigenous spokesperson, John Robertson, secretary of the NSW Labour Council, Senator Lynn Allison, leader of the Australian Democrats, Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, David Hicks’ father Terry Hicks, Dr Adel Iskandar, US academic and author of the book Al Jazeera, Dr Anas AlTikriti, former president of the British Muslim Association and Rev. Dr Ann Wansbrough, co-convenor of the Sydney peace march in 2003, to name a few.

“These people speak out about the critical issues of our time. Issues which should be dinner table and coffee shop conversation all over the world but they are not and we should be asking ‘why not?’” Mr Friar said.

“People have a gut feeling something is terribly wrong with the world, that we are sick in the heart and in the soul, but no-one knows what to do about it.

“People don’t want to be a part of a system that rewards greed and corruption and supports the abuse of power. They don’t want to be part of a system that marginalises our Indigenous peoples and other minority groups and creates fear through a divide and rule government approach.

“Everyone knows the way we are living is neither environmentally nor morally sustainable and yet we are all acting like sheep or sleepwalkers, allowing our lives and our planet to be hijacked by multinational corporations and governments too weak to act in the best interests of all of humanity.

“This film leads people by the hand by giving them all the facts and many viewpoints about the catastrophe we are creating and showing simple yet effective ways in which we can begin to take back control and re-shape our world into the place we want it to be – for ourselves and for future generations.

“We are launching the campaign of the century. The clock has struck 12 and we have run out of time. Each person must start thinking and acting differently right now.

“There is no time to sit back and wait to see how bad it is going to get. The situation is critical right now and people need to get involved in creating global change and I truly believe most people want to do that anyway, they just don’t know how to be effective but this film will teach them.

“Our survival as a species now depends on how we build unity.”

Photo: Acclaimed Indigenous actor and peace and social justice advocate David Gulpilil will urge people to ‘Think About It’ during his free public talk at Southern Cross University from 12noon to 1pm on Tuesday, February 20, as part of Orientation Week activities.

Media contact: Zoe Satherley Southern Cross University media officer, 6620 3144, 0439 132 095.