‘what is the real Aborigine?’
"What’s inspired me for this work is the question of ‘what is the real Aborigine?’ It’s been in our social consciousness and in the media. So there’s this ‘outside’ discussion from mainly a non-indigenous perception about Aboriginal identity – urban versus traditional – and this has sparked an internal debate amongst Aboriginal people
The Totem section in ID is inspired by living traditional social customs, languages and cultures that are still practised in communities today. Even with 21st century distractions, communities hang on to these cultural principles. Totem pays respect to that through abstract and symbolic expression.
Another aspect of ID is to question the degree of Aboriginality based on skin colour. It’s more of a psychological exploration: we are all Aboriginal but we’re all different skin colour. It is important in our work to break down stereotypes.
Our mob enjoys sitting around and hearing stories about connecting to kinship and clans. Clans are such an embedded part of Aboriginal life. We’re really showing kinship within Bangarra; in our contemporary and professional family. All the dancers learn these customs and principles that immediately draw them into the company. It’s like a web in a way, it challenges them to work together in a clan and yet they’re from all over the country – this is part of their initiation. They’re learning these cultural experiences at the same time and they naturally bond and connect as one."
Stephen Page, 2011