Posts Tagged ‘Ecofest’

WANTED: Museum/Galleries/Cultural Centres/Festivals keen to host “Rainbow Dreaming”, a photo-documentary on the sustainability movement in Australia and it’s global significance in a world on the brink of change!

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment

“Rainbow Dreaming: Tales from the Age of Aquarius”

Rainbow Dreaming” is a multi-media photo-documentary exhibition that explores the growth and development of the alternative movement in the ‘rainbow region’ of Australia, centred around the towns of Nimbin and Byron Bay in north-eastern New South Wales.

This photo-documentary maps out the cultural and spiritual legacy of the movement and the ideas and institutions it gave birth to, including: recognition of the resurgence of traditional Aboriginal culture; living in community in harmony with the land; environmental activism; appropriate technology; holistic health; and the synthesis of science, art and philosophy. A sample of the exhibit can be seen at

This site offers a taste of a multi-media exhibition that 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.

This exhibit was invited to participate in the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock celebrations in the US in 2009, as part of a cultural exchange from the ‘rainbow region’. The exhibit featured at:

1. Ecofest, the largest environmental festival on the east coast of the US, held in Central Park, New York, on 5th Oct.

2. New York’s 13th Harvestfest & Freedom Rally, Hancock, 9th – 11th Oct.

3. Woodstock Museum, Saugerties, NY, 16th – 17th Oct.

4. West Fest: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, 25th Oct.

The exhibit comprises:

1. 64 exhibition panels, size A1. The exhibit is weather resistant and can be set up in diverse spaces, indoors and outdoors.

2. A video archive, a music CD and a book.


Due to Australia’s special relationship with Japan, we are working on touring this exhibit to Japan – with text in Japanese – in 2011.

We would love to tour this exhibit to other countries  internationally in 2012.

2012 marks a year of prophesied millennial change and Rainbow Dreaming paints a colourful mosaic of a culture that embraces this future with open arms.

Please direct your expressions of interest to:

Harsha Prabhu/Co-curator

“Rainbow Dreaming”

This project is auspiced by Byron Community & Cultural Centre ( & assisted by Lismore Regional Gallery (


A Fairy Tale of New York

February 15, 2010 Leave a comment
Blog 1 on the Rainbow Dreaming US tour. Rainbow Dreaming is a photodocumentary on the alternative culture of the rainbow region of NSW, Australia. See more at

Lords of the Material Universe
The first signs were auspicious. At Brisbane airport, waiting to catch the flight out to LA, we bumped into Elizabeth Thorpe and Debbie Lee. Elizabeth and her partner Ray, proprietors of Happy High Herbs, were the principal sponsors of Rainbow Dreaming and Lee, artist and designer, is an old connection from Nimbin. Elizabeth and Lee were headed for USA to open Happy High’s first US store, in Arizona. And Hans and myself were headed for New York, bringing with us the stories and pictures of life in the rainbow region.
From the plane, the New York nightscape glowed and flickered like some gigantic circuit board. “The lords of the material universe have nice real estate here”, said Hans. Towers of ivory, streets of gold. Would the lords be kind to us? Would they let me in, with my Indian passport? At immigration, there was a blip: Had my passport ever been stolen? Why was it registered as Australian? The question in my head went something like: So this is what it feels to be at the mercy of dodgy databanks and the mood of the assessment officer. But it turned out ok. After a few questions, Officer Pena waived me through.
Did I have anything to declare, the customs man asked? Don’t touch my bag if you please, I have a haversack full of rainbow dreams, I mused to myself.
At the airport, the smiling face of Benny Zable, waiving a rainbow flag, greeted us. Benny, Nimbin’s ambassador to Woodstock, was the kingpin in the rainbow bridge to Woodstock and beyond. Benny had arranged for us to stay in Brooklyn, at the studio of Traci Mann, a New York tap dancer. Disoriented by jet lag, Hans had left his laptop on the airport bus. That first night, with the El roaring past our window, we fell into a troubled sleep, woken by the clatter of the El and the cries of children at the daycare centre below.

Through a Glass

Our first pilgrimage in New York was to the Yippie Museum in Greenwich Village. The Village was the bohemian hangout par excellence in the sixties. It still has a funky, if gentrified, look. Jazz bars and restaurants dot the streets. The Yippie Museum resembles the Nimbin Museum, with a stage for performances. One night, we caught some fine performance poetry. It’s the headquarters of New York’s hemp legalization campaign. They knew about Nimbin. They were also involved with a global linkup of cities for 2010. 1st Oct saw the launch of Mark Roselle’s book “Tree Spiker”. Mark Roselle is the founder of Rainforest Action Network. He’s also the man who infiltrated a Nevada test site. The day was also Benny’s birthday, Benny, an agent provocateur with his rainbow flags. The Yippie Museum was a happening place, true to it’s name of promoting green(sic) issues through direct action.
It took us a while to work out what ‘uptown’ & ‘downtown’ meant in the subway, but we had worked it out by the time we left New York! Hans slipped out one night for a dose of jazz; the girls went on a harbour cruise; Benny was beavering away at the Ecofest office. My jet lag meant that I saw the city as if through a glass darkly. One image remains: a black, immaculately dressed saxplayer, doing “In a Sentimantl Mood” in the subway at 50th St.


The Ecofest office, off Broadway, was a hive of activity, presided over by Nanci Callahan, queen bee and director/producer of New York’s signature ecological fair, now in it’s 21st year. We walked to Central Park to check out the site for this year’s Ecofest, passing Strawberry Fields and ‘Imagine’, the mosaic tribute to John Lennon. On park benches huddled New York’s homeless, shrouded in grey, under the shadows of the tall towers ringing the park. The Dakota apartments where Lennon had been shot were across the street. “Yoko Ono pays for the maintenance of this section of the park and the homeless are permitted to sleep here,” Benny explained. I thought of our homeless in Byron, chased from bus shelters, their beach humpies a mark for rangers. In this instance, New York seemed to have a heart.
Sunday 4th Oct was a fine day. The Ecofest site began to fill up with vedors and exhibitors, including the latest hybrid cars from Toyota and Ford. We had been assigned the outer wall of the conference tent to set up the Rainbow Dreaming exhibit. Space restrictions meant only half the exhibit could be accommodated. We punched holes into the exhibition panels and strung them out on twine like washing on a line. It worked! Sayaka Nakao, Rina Terasaki and Saya Minami, our Japanese friends from Byron Bay, who had flown in the previous day via Tokyo to help with the exhibition tour, assisted us in this improvisatory task. Ever enthusiastic, our petite helpers were worth their weight in gold. Hans and I would have struggled to manage the show on our own.
Over 25,000 visitors streamed through Ecofest that day and, as we were positioned at the entrance, many of these stopped by to check the exhibit. Among these was Nirmala, Gina Lakosta’s daughter, who was in New York to perform a burlesque show, under the stage name La Viola Vixen. Another was a couple from Goonengerry, amazed to stumble upon a slice of life from the rainbow region in the heart of New York. Tap dancers, including the amazing Mabel Lee, Traci Manns’s former teacher, all of 80; soul singers; stiletto heeled models strutting eco fashions; Rick Ulfik from We the World, the global peace network; Parrots for Peace from the Amazon rainforest; ending with a sing along with Pete Seeger, 90 years old and still singing his peace and environmental anthems.
The sun shone down on Benny Zable’s rainbow flags; children fed ducks in the pond; whole families happily picnicked under the trees; frisbees flew in the air. Catching the last of the sunset, the tall towers seemed to shower us with riches and green fields became fields of gold. The evening ended with drumming. Three drum circles – Cuban, Haitian and African – rang out in the Park. The moon was full and so were our hearts.

Postscript: Hans’ laptop, lost on our first night, was returned to him by the New York City Transport Authority on our last morning in New York, in a fairy tale ending to our stay in the Big Apple!

Benny Zable, Gloria from Parrot’s for Peace and friends @ Ecofest, Central Park, NYC, Oct 4th. The Rainbow Dreaming exhibit is in the background.
Pic: Hans Lovejoy

Rainbow Dreaming crew with Nanci Callahan @ 21st ECOFEST 2009, Central Park, New York