*(Featured image: Mark Kriedemann)

NAIDOC Week would usually be celebrated between early and mid July. However, this year, as was the case for many major cultural events, it was delayed.

NAIDOC 2020 eventually went forth, taking place over the last week from November 8 to 15.

While the celebrations appeared to be more modest than usual, they were still widespread. In NSW events were held throughout Sydney, and as far out as Nambucca Heads and Port Maquarie.

The events took various forms, but maintained a focus on artistic expression and creative endeavours. What follows are photos chronicling some of the events hosted in Sydney including the 'Blak Markets at The Rocks', 'The Schools Reconciliation Challenge; Speaking and Listening from the Heart Exhibition at Barangaroo', and Aunty Barbara McGrady's Photography Exhibition.

However, last week's rejection of the motion in parliament to display the Aboriginal flag in the senate has caused many to doubt that real change is on the way.

On Eastern Avenue at The University of Sydney, Serendib Social Group and the university's student union joined forces to present a menu prepared by Indigenous cooks at the Serendib Social group.

The menu included bunyan nut and kangaroo meat being served for lunch from the student union Eats van for lunch between 11am and 3pm

With the venture running smoothly, the leaders including Serendib's Shaun Christie David took a break in the sun.

The Eats van, working in combination with Serendib Social Group, fed over 300 university students.

Heading over to The Rocks, Sydneysiders had the option of visiting two major NAIDOC Week installations, the Aunty Barbara McGrady Exhibition, and the 'Blak Markets'.

Aunty Barbara McGrady is a leading photojournalist whose works "form a significant visual record of First Nations identity".

Some of the most impactful of these hung prominiently in the foyer of the Cleland Bond bulding in The Rocks.

Aunty Barbara is a Gamilaroi Murri woman from the north west of NSW and Southern Queensland.

The exhibition featured images, such as 'Guragalung-gay dungara', that captured significant moments in the continuation of Indigenous culture and the struggle for rights.

Celebrations of colonial figures remain widespread in Sydney, but not far from a statue of William Bligh (1764-1847), the NAIDOC Blak Markets were busily trading over the NAIDOC weekend.

Arriving at the markets, music played to welcome people to the scene.

Passers-by were treated to vocals accompanied by guitar with the playlist even including 'Take Me Home' by John Denver.

Stalls were set-up around the lawn in front of the contemporary museum of art, attracting a flow of people from Circular Quay and The Rocks.

Stalls seen amidst a crowd of people (while still continuing Covid-19 social-distancing recommendations) included 'Toys Change Lives', 'Eora Shop', 'Caressa', 'Cultural Innovations and Services', 'Sonia Pallett', 'Sandy Designs', 'Gwiyaala Aboriginal Art', 'Yaingayaingarra', 'Baagi Milaygiin', 'Acension', and 'Bush Herbal Healing Medicine'.

Works of art lined various stalls, making a definitive statement of the the fight for continuing First Nations' culture.

At the Bush Herbal Healing Medicine stall, goods ranged from the expected herbal goods to works of art.

Besides the well-known dot-paintings, there were also fine examples of carving and sculpture.

Creations from the younger generation of First Nations artists could be found throughout NAIDOC week over in Barangaroo.

Taking a seemingly incongruous location in the foyer of a modern skyscraper, were numerous atistic works that made it into the finals of the 'The Schools Reconciliation Challenge' exhibition.

The goal of the exhibition, supported by International Towers, is to "support of young Indigenous talent, and of the broader dialogue surrounding reconciliation".

The artworks depicted landscapes, clothing, wildlife, and history.

Beyond these epicentres of NAIDOC Week 2020, there were numerous other signs of the importance of the occasion.

Sydney ferries flew the Aboriginal flag (designed by Harold Thomas in 1971).

Murals were displayed prominently throughout suburbs including Redfern, Darlington, and Newtown.

Back where we began at Sydney University, the new Chau Chak Wing Museum now boasts a trail where plants are named by both their Indigenous (rather than English) and scientific names, such as Gulgadya - xanthorrhoea resinosa.

Over NAIDOC Week older First Nations people have sought to transmit their knowledge within and without their community.

And the young have optimistically sought to embrace and maintain their culture.

Yet there remain strong indications that reconciliation has far to come, as commemorations of colonial influence remain in place.

As with many things in 2020, the course of NAIDOC Week was made uncertain. However, a clear course has continued to be pursued towards greater representation of Indigenous peoples and culture.

The ideal of reconciliation continues to be upheld.

Despite the unusual nature of 2020 amongst other years, a usual uncertainty regarding the potential for greater Aboriginal representation and recognition has persisted.

The recent rejection of the motion in parliment to display the Aboriginal has added yet more doubt and uncertainty for those pursuing reconciliation.

— Mark Kriedemann