Chi Mary Kalu on Multicultural Australia's Festivals

October 19th, 2020

It was a beautiful spring morning, which was quite a relief given the weather forecasts and rainfall on the previous day. I packed up my books, props and umbrella for the 2019 MOSAIC Multicultural Festival, held at the scenic Roma Street Parklands in Brisbane. The Multicultural Australia organisation puts on this spectacular community event, featuring world music and dance, with a variety of stalls offering exotic craft, fabrics, information and networking booths. 

As you walk into the evergreen, lakeside grounds, you are greeted by a tempting aroma of diverse food, and should you wish to make some of these meals, there was a cooking demonstration tent called ‘Rock Around the Wok’. It was packed to the brim; people really do love their food, I thought. 

In its press release for the event, Multicultural Australia noted that the MOSAIC aims to “create welcome” and demonstrate diverse creativity, inviting everyone to be a part of the picture! Each Queenslander brings a piece of their cultural mosaic with them and together will create a vibrant mosaic of stories and experiences.

Inside the park, we saw a brilliant layout of tents, allowing the easy movement of people, and bustling with excited children. There were two performance stages and we could see the dancers and artistes raring to go. The organisers shared a word of welcome and kicked off the show with back to back displays that we would usually pay to see at a theatre. We were thoroughly entertained by performers including, Mad Mariachi, Indigenous dance groups, Tibetan musicians, the Irish Sasta group, Sunny Coast Rude Boys, multi-instrumentalists, African drummers, Bolivian Marka dancers etc. It was amazing that this was a free event!

This family-friendly activity hub had people waving and clapping, munching on churros or fish and chips, beaming with friends; or buying Kenyan beads at the Bazaar & Marketplace.  Every corner had something intriguing and interesting. 

It is reported that about 10,000 people have attended this annual event, this was my second attendance, so I had great expectations, only this time, I was also a stall holder, excited to display copies of the Africa Day children’s book and share my story with the local community.

In this incredible 2020, Multicultural Australia has ‘reimagined’ and prepared another space for meaningful connections. From 1 - 14 November, Multicultural Australia will be hosting The MOSAIC World Concert REIMAGINE 2020, a festival of online events showcasing world music, dance, storytelling, poetry, and lots more. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home.  All artists featuring on the MOSAIC World Concert are Queenslanders and are being paid to combat the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and culture industry.

What better time to demonstrate a healthy community spirit, arts, products, performances, all in good cheer! We all have that renewed appreciation for social connections, new strategies, and life itself. 

Multicultural celebrations provide an excellent display of our unique communities whilst engaging and learning about each other, in a fun, festive environment. It fosters harmony, peaceful co-existence and inclusion.  We are blessed in Brisbane to have a variety of these events -  Naidoc, Diwali, Paniyiri, Australia Day, St Patricks Day, Africa Day, Oktoberfest etc.

At the 2019 Mosaic, there were banners everywhere with the theme “It’s Who We Are”, a reference to their exhibition aiming to facilitate diverse collaborations. It was such an instructive theme. Strangers danced together in the teeming crowd, there was laughter in the air. We felt welcome, we took photos, there was a trace of happiness on every face irrespective of tribe or creed, because we are all part of the diverse work of art!

I am reminded that WE as a people are different and alike in many ways, more so in these times of recovery and reforms. We come with special gifts and appear in different shades and perhaps with various grievances, but we all love our food, we all have a desire to connect and we all smile to the music. We must seize opportunities to connect on the things that matter most to us all, as human beings. 


- Chi Mary Kalu

More information visit Multicultural Australia:



Africa Day

A little boy and his mum explore many colourful, fun and exotic things about Africa at a cultural festival.
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