Pako Festa continues to celebrate cultural diversity through art and light this month

Pako Festa continues to celebrate cultural diversity through art and light this month

Portraits by Chrissie Francis Photography

There are more fabulous ways to experience our regions diverse mix of cultures.

Every year in one place, on one day, Pakington street comes alive with an abundance of colour, unique costumes, live music, street performers, multicultural food, and traditional dancing in celebration of Geelong’s diverse mix of cultures with people from all walks of life.

The revered ‘Pako Festa’ is the largest free celebration of cultural diversity in Australia thanks to Diversitat, a not-for-profit association, and deeply reflects Geelong’s uniting community spirit. While the beloved festival is looking a little different this year, with a brand-new format due to COVID-19 regulations, all the key elements that we love about Pako Festa’s celebration of diversity remain.

The key takeaways

  • Pako Festa continues until the end of March
  • Stunning night projections will take the place of the Street Parade
  • The work of professional and emerging local artists and local schools will be on show to form an arts trail

Check out more art and design related content via our website.

With food being one of the major uniting factors of the annual festival, last week saw a reimagined one-day event offering locals lovingly prepared home-cooked food from 19 of Geelong’s diverse ethnic communities. Known as a celebration that extends beyond food and into community arts, exhibitions, interactive workshops and a range of entertainment, having ‘festival goers’ experiences the international cuisine of this multicultural community was only just the beginning of this year’s celebrations, with Pako Festa expanding the festivities past one day.

Running until Saturday, March 13, the Geelong West Town Hall will host the union of 30 separate ethnic community groups through night projections, taking the place of the sparkling street parade.

Offering a rich audio-visual experience, the projections will feature the work of local projection artist Matt Bonner, who is transforming 30 community portraits captured by local photographer Chrissie Francis into an amazing display sponsored by Xtreme Technology and the Committee for Geelong.

Lighting up the city hall each night from 8:30pm to 11:30pm, these stunning projections will offer an intimate insight into each culture, celebrating the beautiful diversity within our community.

For the art lovers out there, Pako Festa’s brand new ‘Elements of Culture Arts Trail’ will be a must-see.

Created in partnership with the Pakington Street Traders Association, Pako Festa will also showcase the work of professional and emerging local artists and local schools in the form of a trail along Pakington Street between Gordon Ave and Church Street. The works are currently featured in shop windows until Saturday, 27 March, taking participants on a journey along the street to discover a diverse selection of artwork and local businesses.

With a wide range of art practices on show, from textiles and paintings, to mixed media and watercolour, there truly will be something for everyone to discover, giving an insight into the artists living in our community.

Participating artists include the likes of multidisciplinary, abstract expression artist Vanessa Conte, acrylic painters Rasen Haddad and Shahad Bahnan, Noongar and Tuwharetoa artist Kiri Wicks, local multi-platform artist Joshua Maxwell de Hoog, and Rachel Burke – an artist giving new life to old items with vintage makeovers such as lampshades covered with maps, music papers and sewing patterns.

You can view the full list of participating artists and locations here.

Visit Pako Festa for more information.

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