As the sun begins to set on Gumatj country in northeast Arnhem Land, the visitors to the Garma festival gather round the edges of the bunggul grounds.
Garma is the annual celebration of Yolngu life and culture, hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation at the Gulkula ceremonial site about 40km from Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory.
While this year's festival had a strong political element, with many conversations about the upcoming referendum on a First Nations voice to parliament, Garma's over-riding cultural mission is to provide a contemporary environment for the expression and presentation of traditional Yolngu knowledge systems and customs.
It's about walking in two worlds.
Garma showcases traditional miny'tji (art), manikay (song), bunggul (dance) and story-telling, and is an important meeting point for the clans and families of the region.
Each evening, the bunggul pulls everyone at the festival together to see an exchange of cultural story-telling, which this year includes invited dancers from the Torres Strait.
"To the Yolngu, our songs, paintings and dances are our books, they tell us where we have come from and where we are going to," Dan Wininba Ganambarr says.
"They follow the songlines that weave us together.
"They are our maps, our law books, our title deeds, and our family history.
"They connect us to the land and the animals with which we share it and of whom we are a part.
"They are woven into our hearts."
Denise Bowden, Yothu Yindi Foundation chief executive, explains that in Yolngu culture everything is interconnected.
"It is all linked and it works," she tells AAP.
"And I can say as the director of the Garma festival, it's also the holistic view that we take when we organise this event.
"Sometimes it might look like we're going backwards to others, but in actual fact, we're progressing in the way that the community works according to the ebb and flow."
That ebb and flow, that balance, weaves through the very fabric of Garma, encompassing the legacy of former leaders and the theme of this year's festival: 'Djambatji' - Yolngu excellence.
The renowned and respected Gumatj clan leader Yunupingu died earlier this year.
And yet his presence could be felt almost everywhere at Garma, from his portrait, displayed with other influential Yolngu elders, including Yunupingu's brother, the late frontman of the band Yothu Yindi, to the many speeches and tributes that honoured his legacy.
"It's been quite a lovely experience because I feel as if the event has come with a respectful calm, and I think the respectful calm has come about from that ex-chair of ours (Yunupingu)," Ms Bowden said.
"People have come with a great deal of respect and really aware of the legacy that he's left behind and we've seen that delivered at this year's Garma festival.
"I only wish that he was here to have shared that with us."
A great passion for Ms Bowden is following through on the Yothu Yindi Foundation's long-held ambition of establishing a world-class education hub in northeast Arnhem Land.
Last week Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney signed off on a $6.4 million investment for the Garma Institute from the Aboriginals Benefit Account, which holds royalty equivalents generated from mining on Aboriginal land in the NT.
The Institute forms part of a broad vision that offers a Yolngu-centred curriculum across the education lifecycle from early childhood to tertiary.
"It should coordinate our homelands and outstations, bring people in, bring people out," Ms Bowden says, "and show that we've got a workforce ahead of us that's built primarily on the strengths of Yolngu culture, and learnings, songlines and all that intellectual property."
This year's festival saw 5500 people come through the gates over the four days, August 4-7, peaking at about 3500 on the Sunday night, which featured a stellar line-up of music, including hip hop muso J-Milla, local Yolngu band King Stingray and Yothu Yindi Foundation chair Djawa Yunupingu's band.
The phrase 'Yothu Yindi' refers to the child-mother relationship, which has a special place in the Yolngu world, one that symbolises balance and harmony.
And in the interconnectedness of Yolngu ways, the Yolngu rock band Yothu Yindi sang about treaty, while Yolngu leaders shared their word 'makarrata' - which means coming together after a struggle - with the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for voice, treaty and truth.
It explains why the political discussion about the upcoming referendum on a First Nations voice was so front and centre at this year's festival.
"We have six Yolngu people who sit on our board and they drive an inspirational vision really very much based upon the legacy of those elders before us," Ms Bowden said.
"Keeping in mind we're being really loyal to our homelands and outstations, the Garma Institute is going to be driven by that grassroots perspective.
"Yothu means child, Yindi means mother, so they go together and that's a great example of that whole linkage."
Australian Associated Press
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