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Neil Morris talks about his work and his commitment in the vanguard of change now.

Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta yiyirr. A poet, musician, community based activist, broadcaster. Known notably for his music project DRMNGNOW and indefatigable advocacy work around First Nations, rights, culture and country. Morris has made a significant mark within the decolonial movement in so called Australia with his clear messaging around the importance of Indigenous Sovereignty, Country and Decolonial paradigms since releasing song ‘Australia Does Not Exist’ in 2018. Coupled with his tireless work in advocacy, and awareness of key matters at the soul of this land , Morris is firmly centred in the vanguard of change now. Neil is my guest this morning around 8.30am.

Monash University Performing Arts Centres (MPAC) has commissioned an exciting collaboration with Yorta Yorta MC, poet and instrumentalist DRMNGNOW aka Neil Morris, in partnership with the William Cooper Institute – a hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, learning and engagement that promotes Indigenous leadership and advancement across Monash University.

Entitled Muniak Nangarna (meaning “Future Thought”), this sound installation is a completely new body of work expressed through ethereal soundscapes, song and spoken word, developed in the David Li Sound Gallery of the Ian Potter Centre for the Performing Arts, showing 30 May - 2 June.

The work provides a provocative abstract exploration evoked by resilience through adversity of early Indigenous activism of Victorian Aboriginal Peoples through to cultural rejuvenation and ongoing advocacy and cultural custodianship that was driven by Muniak Nangarna and visions for self-determination and sovereignty.

This new work is deeply influenced by Neil's lens as a Yorta Yorta descendent with bloodline connections to many Koorie Tribes of Victoria, including connections to historical figures within the early Victorian and National Indigenous Rights movements such as Tommy McRae, William Cooper and Sir Douglas Nicholls.

In this work Neil also pays homage to his great grandfather, Aaron Arkinson, an early proponent of land rights advocacy at the forefront of early colonial impacts for the Yorta Yorta specifically, and his great grandmother, Nora Nicholls, the midwife on Cummergunja mission before the Cummergunja Walk off in 1939.

Neil Morris said: “This work is inspired by the custodianship that inspired the Muniak Nangarna of the Victorian Aboriginal cultural, social and political movements and how that places Victorian Aboriginal Peoples today, still focused on self determination and sovereignty in the ways our ancestors dreamed and worked towards.”

Neil Morris is a Yorta Yorta Yiyirr poet, musician, community-based activist, and broadcaster with a formidable voice, well-known for his music project DRMNGNOW and untiring advocacy work around First Nations, rights, culture, and country.

The William Cooper Institute connects research, learning and engagement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. It oversees the development of targeted strategies to increase the participation of Indigenous students across the country, particularly graduate students and those from regional areas.

The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts,

48 Exhibition Walk, Clayton 3800

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