NAIDOC Week is the perfect time to reveal our 2021 theme, Bilya
'Bilya. River. Nestled into boodjar, mother earth. Bilya is a network of cords going from one place to another, bringing life, giving water, feeding the land.
In Noongar language and life, the word bilya begins at bily, meaning navel or belly button, becoming bilya the cord of life. Without rivers what would we have? As we rest beside it and ponder upon its continual nourishing we connect deeper to our existence and the true meaning of bilya.'
Roma Yibiyung Winmar and Kylie Bracknell [Kaarljilba Kaardn]
Words from our Artistic Director Iain Grandage
Perth Festival 2021 is a love song to this place – to our people, our artists, our stories, our river. Around the theme of Bilya (river), it brims with Western Australian works that celebrate our community.
Whadjuk Noongar custodians call the Swan River 'Derbarl Yerrigan'.
It's deeply entwined with the creation story of this place through the presence of the Wargl, a serpent recognised by Noongar as the giver of life and the embodiment of all freshwater sources.
This is the first story of our river, but a river runs through us all – histories and bloodlines entwined – leaving memories and sediments everywhere.
An old truth tells us you can never step into the same river twice – the molecules surrounding you are unique to that moment. Like a river, a festival is ever-flowing, ever-moving forward.
There is an act of hope in seeking a festival – we’re drawn to it, just as a river seeks an ocean.
People have had two distinct responses to the moments of isolation of the past year. One is introspective – artists and their work can help answer the emotional and existential questions that have been asked of us. The other is celebratory – many people yearn to share their experiences with others.
Our 2021 program embraces both of these aspects – the celebratory and the contemplative – as we focus on local brilliance that would thrill audiences anywhere in the world.
Perth Festival 2021 is a gift to, for and by the people of Perth and we look forward to sharing it with you.
Artwork by Noongar Artist Laura Farmer
You can find this beautiful artwork on the inside cover of our brochure. Laura's work perfectly captures the life of Bilya that flows through Perth Festival 2021.
Courtesy the artist and Peter Farmer Designs.
18 Nov 2020 Full program is available to browse on our website.Tickets on sale to Friends of the Festival 12pm. Become a member here.