Starting last week at the Hares and Hyenas bookshop’s Hare Hole event space, Melbourne’s first queer People of Colour and First Peoples (QPoC) arts and culture festival, Iridescent, is currently taking place.

It includes multidisciplinary performance nights, a life drawing event, a panel discussion, speed dating, workshops and seven autonomous afternoon teas for different communities in Melbourne.

The festival sprang from a conversation between Mark Nannup and Hares and Hyenas about making Indigenous programming ubiquitous at Hare Hole.

He talked about existing relationships between QPoC and Indigenous performers and saw an opening for a festival. Mama Alto joined the team and participated in meetings. After receiving a starting grant from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, she became the festival’s curator and main driver.

“It’s such a wonderful festival to be involved in. And bringing everyone together is a great opportunity for queer people of colour and queer first peoples to take centre stage,” Mamma Alto said.


Iridescent celebrates the work of a staggering range and variety of emerging, mid-career and established artists and hybrid art forms, and while everybody is invited to attend Iridescent, QPoC will be the ones holding the mic.

“The experience of a lot of artists who are queer people of colour or queer first nations mob, is that often when we participate in a line-up of artists, we might be the token one or two that ticks the diversity box.

“That’s great, but we thought what if we had a festival where the entire thing is a diversity box and audiences are really loving that,” Mama Alto said.

“The social events and workshops and skills events are so great for socialising and the performances give people a chance to strut their stuff and get to know each other.”

Darlene Silva Soberano, Zodiac and Janelle Da Silva (left to right). Photos: Facebook.

The afternoon a meet ups take place from 1pm-4pm and present a chance for folk to catch up, talk and exchange ideas.

The remaining afternoon tea sessions are:

Wed 27 Nov: QPoC Asylum Seekers & Refugees

Fri 29 Nov: QPoC & First Peoples

You can check out the full program for Iridescent here at


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