Australian Age of Aquarius
Australian hippies bring The Age of Aquarius to Central Park this fall at the 21st Annual Ecofest on October 4th. "Rainbow Dreaming," a photodocumentary that traces the development of Australia's famous Rainbow Region, will premiere at Ecofest before moving on to Harvest Fest, New York’s 15th annual hemp festival on October 9th, the Woodstock Museum on October 16th, and then to West Fest in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on October 25th.
According to Harsha Prabhu, the curator of the exhibit, “‘Rainbow Dreaming’ comprises the work of over one hundred photographers, filmmakers, writers, poets, children and cultural visionaries. This vision, first articulated as a cultural phenomenon in the sixties, has an even greater relevance to our world today. ‘Rainbow Dreaming’ explores the evolution of a culture committed to peace and sustainable living in a world on the brink of change.”
The Rainbow Region of Australia encompasses the towns of Nimbin and Byron Bay in northeastern New South Wales. Now known as Woodstock's Sister-Village, the Rainbow Region traces its lineage back to the Aquarius Festival held in Nimbin in May 1973. The Aquarius Festival was Australia’s version of Woodstock and it was such a success that Nimbin has hosted the festival every five years since then.
The history of the Rainbow Region is the history of a people with vision for a peaceful, harmonious, and creative future. When the first Aquarius Festival came to a close in 1973, not everyone went home; some folks decided to stay, to build a lasting community, to live the dream. Today, the Rainbow Region is home to the Australian counterculture.
The Sister-Village Connection between Nimbin and Woodstock was established in 1996 when David Hallet, a poet, community organizer, and President of the Nimbin School of the Arts, traveled to Woodstock to meet with the founders of the Woodstock Museum, Nathan Koenig and Shelli Lipton. This October, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, “Rainbow Dreaming” comes to the Woodstock Museum after its New York City premiere.
With artwork illustrating hippie values like peace, forest conservation, the protection of Aboriginal people, the end of cannabis prohibition, whole foods, and the creation of art and music, this exhibit presents a unique opportunity to appreciate the cultural legacy of the Rainbow Region and to share in the community spirit of our Australian brothers and sisters.
[Artwork by Benny Zable, used with permission of Rainbow Dreaming.org]