Carriageworks will present Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards), a triple bill of solo works curated by Marrugeku’s artistic directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain over three nights from 30 May – 1 June 2019. Ngarlimbah is performed by Walmajarri/Nyikina painter and poet, Edwin Lee Mulligan over an animation by Sohan Ariel Hayes; Miranda is co-conceived by Miranda Wheen, who performs the work, and Burkino Faso/Belgian director Serge Aimé Coulibaly; and, for Dancing with Strangers, Yuin/Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwaan/Gumbangirri dancer and violinist Eric Avery collaborates with Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen.

Co-Artistic Directors Dalisa Pigram and Rachael Swain describe, “Marrugeku are leading change makers in intercultural contemporary dance. We are dedicated to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians working together to develop new dance languages that are restless, transformative and unwavering.”

The three works presented as Burrbgaja Yalirra explore the complexity of reciprocity, they aim to challenge our understanding of our history and our relationship to the land in Australia:

Ngarlimbah (You are as much a part of me as I am of you) is a spoken word and animated video work conceived by Walmajarri/Nyikina painter and poet, Edwin Lee Mulligan, in collaboration with award-winning media artist Sohan Ariel Hayes. Ngarlimbah is the essence of reciprocity between human, spirit and environmental realms. Ngarlimbah tells the stories of two dingoes, the calm Yungngora and the dark dog Jirrilbil whose final resting place is a billabong near Noonkanbah, Central Kimberley where waterlilies grow. Yungngora and Jirrilbil visit Edwin in his dreams to speak back to contemporary concerns in his community.

Miranda Wheen performs a solo dance work choreographed with and directed by Serge Aimé Coulibaly from Burkina Faso and Belgium. Miranda takes as a starting point the final, initially unpublished, chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock and the fate of Wheen’s fictional namesake ‘Miranda’ who seemingly disappeared in the Australian landscape. Miranda explores the stumbling, often awkward and painful position of settler Australians grappling with understanding Indigenous Australian experience and perceptions of land, while negotiating their own troubled belonging to it. It’s in this space of instability and fragility that Wheen attempts to find her dance, proposing a similar experience of a white Australia struggling for a moral, intellectual and spiritual position with which to deal with its history.

Dancer and violinist Eric Avery collaborates with Belgian co-choreographer of Marrugeku’s award-winning Gudirr Gudirr, Koen Augustijnen, to create Dancing with Strangers. Eric belongs to the Yuin, Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwaan and Gumbangirri peoples and is a custodian of songs and dances from his father’s line. Dancing with Strangers explores the first colonial contact period, including early and missed opportunities for exchange in language, dance and sharing knowledge. Eric takes inspiration from the story of his Yuin great-great-grandfather, Jack Biamanga who saw the First Fleet sail past his mother’s country, the Monaroo region of NSW. He imagines where we might be now if there had been music and dance made between the two cultures and explores the dislocation of his people resulting from the lack of such negotiated contact. Limelight describes, “Avery explores a moment caught between historical outcomes, a time when things could have turned out differently.”

Patron and Cultural Advisor Patrick Dodson said, “Marrugeku is at the global forefront of cultural expressive integrity. Their work transcends romantic representation, to represent the complex social reality of contemporary Indigenous society in a manner that confronts ever increasing audiences of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Marrugeku’s artistic integrity is also demonstrating their inclusiveness of Indigenous voices, advice and guidance. As cultural advisor I can strongly attest to that.”

Burrbgaja Yalirra (Dancing Forwards) was commissioned by Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts and Carriageworks.

For any media enquiries please contact Julia Barnes at julia@articulatepr.com.au