Opening tonight at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Dalisa Pigram’s solo dance work is an articulate and thoroughly interrogated exploration of her politicised identity as an Aboriginal Australian of diverse cultural heritage.
Working with Belgian choreographer Koen Augustijnen and artist Vernon Ah Kee as her set/video designer, her political narrative unfolds in powerful projected text and imagery and in movement inspired by and taken from Aboriginal dance, contemporary western dance, gymnastics and the Malaysian martial art silat.
Pigram hails from Broome, where the pearling industry brought waves of settlement from Malaysian and other Asian communities at the turn of 20th century.
The show begins with some projected text compiled from the report of a government inspector who visited the township in 1928, expressing concern about the sexual and domestic interrelations of the Asiatic migrants with the local Aboriginal population.
Gudirr Gudirr calls a warning, the guwayi bird calls when the tide is turning – to miss the call is to drown.
By turns hesitant, restless, resilient and angry, Gudirr Gudirr lights a path from a broken past through a fragile present and on to a future still in the making. The production considers the legacy of Australia’s history for Aboriginal people in northwest Australia today and asks what it takes to decolonise Aboriginal people’s minds, unlock doors and face cultural change.
Gudirr Gudirr calls a warning to a community facing massive industrialisation on traditional lands, loss of language and major gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous wellbeing and builds a dance language to capture the moment in time for her people.
WHAT: Gudirr Gudirr – Marrugeku
WHERE: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.
WHEN: Friday, April 29 (7.30pm).