Michael Connelly


Michael Connelly

Social and Community Entrepreneur, Aboriginal Artist / Craftsman, Didgeridoo Performer and Indigenous Boxing Advocate

Interview

Michael Connolly, Aboriginal Artist. Dreamtime Kullilla-Art - 14th November 2018


Michael is an aboriginal from Charleville, south west Queensland and a descendant of the Kullilla tribe from the Thargomindah/Eulo region [on his father’s side] and of the Muruwari People from north-west New South Wales [on his mother’s side] who can trace their traditional trade and diplomatic links with Central Desert as well as South Australian and Northern New South Wales’ Aboriginal Communities.  Together with this rich indigenous background and unique style of interpretation of his cultural heritage. Michael is able to represent a unique perspective in the visual and performing arts.  This is evident in his artwork, craftsmanship, didgeridoo playing and storytelling as a result of blending his own contemporary or urban indigenous style with the traditional style of the Kullilla Peoples under his business name of Dreamtime Kullilla-Art.

Michael has been blessed with the gift of art that has been passed on to him by the spirits of his ancestors.   Michael’s works of art are his interpretation of the lovely Dreamtime stories and legends.  He is able to combine modern art materials and techniques with traditional patterns, styles and subject matter.  Michael has exhibited a select range of his artworks with a variety of Galleries in and around Brisbane and, internationally [Malta].  Currently Michael has artworks on display at the at the shop/gallery in Eumundi – The Dilly Bag Dreamtime Place.

Michael is also the artist/designer and producer of the very first ever Aboriginal Australia numberplate to be made commercially available in Queensland, now launched in Victoria and soon to become available Australia-wide.

The didgeridoos Michael creates are made from the timber found in his territory of southwest Queensland. This timber of course is naturally termite-hollowed eucalyptus.  The didgeridoos are all handcrafted by Michael and all individually handpainted using his own unique design expressing different traditional forms.  Consequently, each didgeridoo is not only a unique piece of art but also a masterfully crafted musical instrument with high tonal quality.

Apart from his works of art and craft, Michael is quite an accomplished didgeridoo player and performer.  He has been playing the didgeridoo for a number of years and has made a number of appearances throughout Brisbane and local areas performing and teaching the art of playing the didgeridoo.  Michael has been invited to perform in Brunei, Worldwide Aussie Convention in Brisbane and for the President of Ireland at the Brisbane Convention Centre.  He has also recorded a CD with the Queensland Irish Pipe Band that incorporates his sound of the didgeridoo with their pipes and drums – a truly magical blend - given Michael’s heritage as half Irish/Aboriginal.  Michael has also performed at a number of opening ceremonies for various corporate and Government functions and conventions in and around Brisbane over the years.  Michael was invited to perform with the Maltese National Orchestra in Malta as part of Malta’s 40th anniversary of Independence Day celebrations held in September 2004.  In February 2006 at the International Film Festival in Mombai, India Michael was invited to give a Cultural performance and also at the launch of theAusArts program in Kolkata [Calcutta], India.  Michael was also invited to perform [didgeridoo] with the International Handbell Orchestra [approx 2,000 handbells] and musical choir in August 2006 in Brisbane.  Recently Michael traveled to Singapore at the invitation of Discovery Channel to launch their new program highlighting the Australian culture.  Michael is also part of the National Indigenous Leadership Program which brings National Indigenous Leaders [men, women and youth] together to advise Government on Indigenous issues and to assist with Policy.

It is Michael’s ambition in life to be able to take his Kullilla elders “home” and continue the culture and heritage of his tribe and to encourage everyone to learn to respect the need for all Aboriginal people to continue to learn and practice their culture.  More importantly, to stop the exploitation and imitation of the art, the culture and heritage of his People.

Cultural Ambassador to:  

The Australian Indigenous Youth Soccer Team &
The Australian Indigenous Amateur Boxing Team 2007                                               
                                                                                                                                                                               
                                               

PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP
 

I am the Cultural Ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Boxing Team and we are desperately trying to raise enough funds so these boys can participate in an International Cultural Exchange tournament with Fiji in October.  Unfortunately the problem we face is that there is absolutely no support anywhere for National Indigenous Sporting teams.  The Australian Sporting Commission only looks at "developmental" support - if you are a National Team then you are not developmental  - so consequently no funding ALSO the Australian Sports Commission has advised that their funding guidelines, as set by the Dept. Communications Information Technology and the Arts, do not allow them to support Indigenous only teams or events SO WHAT CHANCE DO WE HAVE???? Plus having an amateur status you need a world ranking to get any Govt sponsorship.  We need to raise approx $40,000 by 1st October or our boys miss out.

 

My idea is to ask 40,000 people for $1.00 each to support the team and we will have our funding - how hard can that be?   We represent 2% of the Australian population which equates to approximately 500,000 Aboriginal & TSI People which is $500,000 so surely we can make our target of $40,000 +.  This opportunity will give them the confidence and experience to be a real contender for the Olympic Team - this will be the stepping stone to the World stage.  Already we have 5 boxers awarded NTID scholarships and currently training at the AIS

 

Many of these boys have given up drinking - given up smoking - given up taking drugs and committed themselves 100% to being a better person and have become truly great role models for the younger and upcoming players - nearly all of them now have jobs and working real hard both in the work force and in the ring and they have given me a pledge to keep on fighting and I have given them my pledge to do all I can to be able to get them to Fiji - to participate in an International Tournament - a valuable preliminary tournament to the Australian Olympic Boxing trials and believe me - these boys are ready for that Olympic ring.

 

All I am asking is the opportunity for our story to get some media attention so we can more attention to the fundraising and possible sponsorships/contributions.  This is an Australian Indigenous Team with young indigenous boys from all over Australia so that.

Please can you run our story.

 

We need to have raised the money by 1st October to be able to confirm our participation - the biggest expense is the airfares to Fiji for 20 [13 boxers and 7 officials]. Can you please ring me for an interview or contact Syl Johns [AIABT Manager 0409091941].

 

This team is fully sanctioned by Boxing Australia.
Many thanks
Michael Connolly
Cultural Ambassador - AIABT 2007
Fundraising Campaign Manager
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art
Authentic Aboriginal Art & Craft
   by Michael J Connolly
63 Sportsground Street [PO Box 137]
REDCLIFFE  QLD  4020
Tel:  (07) 3880 1320
Fax:  (07) 3880 0479

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