10 May, 2016

Mountain to Mouth 2016: walk this land

This Friday 6th and Saturday 7th May, as I did just on two years ago, I took part in the Mountain to Mouth Extreme Arts Walk - M~M for short. For those who don't know, M~M is a multi-award winning, biennial community event which takes place across two days and 80km from the You Yangs to Barwon Heads.
Participants could choose to walk part or all of the 80km, accompanying "Canoe" the ephemeral centrepiece in which water from "Big Rock" in the You Yangs was carried to Barwon Heads where it was returned to the ocean; fresh water returning to the sea. To quote the event website:
The route is punctuated with edgy artworks commissioned for M~M, bringing people together through shared experiences of extreme arts that celebrate our land. In the tradition of Wadawurrung, M~M creates a contemporary songline across the Geelong and Queenscliffe regions.
"Canoe" and the walkers were accompanied on their journey by flags representing each of the City of Greater Geelong council wards and the Borough of Queenscliffe. The flags were carried by invited volunteers who have contributed to the local community. Likewise, "Canoe" was carried by those who contribute to the community in many ways - the CFA, Ford, Deakin University, The Celtic Festival, Crossing Supervisors, Surf Lifesavers to name a few.
At each of 12 stations along the route, walkers and the community were able to experience a different art installation, each of which was based around a walking circle created by a local artist or group of artists to reflect the local community and environment.
The show was kicked off by the first of three ceremonies, integral to the whole experience. The ceremonies were each designed to "celebrate the land, the heritage and the people of the Geelong region."
"Gathering of the Elders" ceremony, Big Rock
The first, was the "Gathering of the Elders" at Big Rock, a predominantly indigenous ceremony highlighting the ancient history of the region and culminating in the collection of water from the equally ancient rock well at the site, to be carried by "Canoe" to the ocean.
Wathaurong rock well, Big Rock
The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of the artwork "Canoe"
"Canoe" carried to the ceremony by the creating artists Leonard Tebegetu and
Mahony Maia Keily  and representatives from Parks Victoria
and an indigenous smoking ceremony before walkers, flag bearers and those carrying "Canoe" departed on the first leg of the journey.
Uncle Bryon Powell performing the smoking ceremony at Big Rock
 As was the case in 2014, our journey began by walking out of the You Yangs Regional Park, along Flinder's Ave to Serendip Sanctuary before entering Lara and arriving at the second station on the route. Under clear skies, this was a long stretch on a surprisingly warm autumn day.
Leaving the You Yangs behind
From Lara, our route took us along Cowies Creek - named of course for one of the region's earliest European settlers John Anthony Cowie who initially squatted at Bell Post Hill.
Cowies Creek, Lara
Our next stop was on the shores of Limeburners' Lagoon near Geelong Grammar where staff and students joined the walkers at the third station.
The shores of Limeburners' Lagoon nearing sunset
 After another all-too-brief stop, we were walking again, this time around the shoreline to Geelong's industrial heartland as the sun disappeared from view.
The shores of Corio Bay
The lights of Viva (previously Shell)
At Moorpanyal Park, still in the industrial precinct, we stopped at the fourth station as Ford employees handed the job of carrying "Canoe" over to representatives of Deakin University.
Past meets present. Ford employees carry "Canoe" to Moorpanyal park...
where Deakin's academics take up the responsibility 
From Moorpanyal Park, we began our final leg for the evening, walking around the shoreline of Western Beach to the fifth station at the Waterfront where the Mountain to Mouth collided with Geelong After Dark in a spectacular display involving sound, light, colour and dance in the form of the second ceremony "Gathering of the City: Geelong Connected Communities"
"Jellyfish" at the Gathering of the City Ceremony
Dancers performing during the Gathering of the City Ceremony
And there we left it for the night. I have deliberately not included photos of the individual walking circles and installations in this post. Instead, I have added a separate post showing each of the walking circles along the path we took: Mountain to Mouth 2016: walking circles

And the rest of the journey follows here: Mountain to Mouth 2016: walk this land

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