A community engaged performance work that embodies new possibilities for our relationships with each other and the land.
How can we be deeply at home here, as non-Aboriginal people living on Yugambeh Country? How do we face and embrace our colonial history and its living present? Can we make room for our different lineages, stories, feelings?
A collaboration between myself (Anglo-Australian performance artist), Maori Australian choreographer Victoria Hunt, Brisbane based Aboriginal installation artist Carol McGregor and an ensemble of ten community participants. In conversation with local Elder Aunty Mary Graham and artistic/cultural consultant Robyne Latham. Supported by lighting designer Marion Conrow and sound artist James Brown.
The project hosted a conversation and creative and cultural exploration that gave rise to an outdoor ceremony that we performed at the First Nations sand circle at Festival 2018, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games cultural program.
Carol and I ran public workshops before our performances, inviting festival goers to contemplate Acknowledgement through ochreing the heart shaped leaves of the local Cottonwood tree. The audience were invited to place their ochred leaves in the sand circle as part of the performance/ceremony.
After taking part in the workshop and witnessing the performance, someone wrote to me:
It was a relief to sit together on the ground and feel the breeze, the space, the place…. to hear the ocean, the trees, the whisperings, the Welcome, the music…to see the incredible pieces you all created honouring the Cottonwood, the local place, spirits, people and all his/herstory.
I saw my non-indigenous grandmothers and their sisters in circle sewing together, as all women have from all cultures, weaving useful creations into life, using our hands to create, together….seeing this circle of women on the ground with the leaves of this place, creating their nests here…taking proper time and feeling into the place…very deeply moving for me. Thank you for reminding me in an embodied sense how we are all also connected in this archetypal, cross-cultural way.
The smoke and the breeze and the moving and the colours and the story became one deep feeling of connectedness.
This is respect. This is healing. This is connection.