This moment is towards the end of Eora, Patyegarang's opening scene. Here, it's as though Patyegarang is lifted onto the back of the future in a vision, an initiated understanding, that her life learnings will become a legacy for generations to come. She will carry the language of the Eora People into the future. Centuries later, the relationship she grows with Dawes will become a force of resilience through language revival. Photography Greg Barrett. Patyegarang (Jasmin Sheppard) with the male ensemble.
This scene, Eora, is a form of initiation for Patyegarang, her awakening into the next phase as a young woman. The women, framed by the men using ceremonial Knowledge Sticks, are working with water carriers (water-tight bungalow palm baskets that are filled with ceremonial white ochre - hand made by Phyllis Stewart from Jungah Weavers - https://www.facebook.com/jungahweavers/ ) and Eucalypt leaves. This moment in Eora represents the clan coming together to nurture the strengths Patyegarang draw on as she grows her friendship and alliance with Dawes, representing and sharing her Eora culture and knowledge. Photography Jess Bialek. Eora Ensemble.
This is the final section of Maugrai Nawi-Banga. All the elements of the fishing world come together in this moment - the womens' beautiful fish-trap-inspired dresses, the fishing spear, the canoe, the fishing dance motifs and the ensemble working together as a clan. Photography Jess Bialek.
In this section of the show, Dawes and Patyegarang share their cultural understandings of astronomy. This image captures the undulating intricacies of cultural stories linking the studs of stars to the world of the dreamtime. The women, dressed in silver-streaked flowing black tops and skirts and glistening silver body paint, represent the stars and dance the different lines of connection that weave individual stars into the greater mix of the dreamtime matrix. They look at how the star seasons stand as indicators for every day needs and events and are also built into the greater cultural visions of the people. The suspended set piece further reiterates these thematics and the red colour can be seen as representing the cultural heartbeat that drives these stories. As Night Sky begins, Nick Schleiper's lighting reveals only the light of the stars but as the section unfolds, the crimson threads of story connection are illuminated. Photography Jess Bialek.
Dawes, played by Thomas Greenfield, arrives On Country. His senses draw in the spirit of this ancient, yet new land as he takes his first steps upon Eora country. Photography Jess Bialek
Scene revealing the humpy where Dawes and Patyegarang will pass a night. The humpy is a contemporary design, designed by Jacob Nash and made by Traleen Ryan. Its form was inspired by natural materials and forms such as leaves, cocoons etc. Its translucency is harnessed by lighting designer Nick Schleipper supporting the dancers story-telling on stage. This scene reveals how comfortable and close Dawes and Patyegarang became as they shared cultural and personal understandings. Photography Jess Bialek. Jasmin Sheppard as Patyegarang.
Territorial tension peaks and patience dissolves. Ngalgear, played by Waangenga Blanco, unleashes his anger for the ravaging of his people by the red coats/ settlers. Photography Jess Bialek.
Tara Gower and Michael Smith, painted black and white respectively, explores how culture and kinship transcend the superficial surface layer of skin and attire. The dancers and paint-up represent a quiet, internal resistance, exploring the notion that culture lives inside us and is passed on through us no matter what one's skin colour, what one wears or how a people are pushed to assimilate to new protocols and cultural tenets.
In the final section of 'Proclamation', on opposite sides of the stage, two dancers have their full body paint scrubbed off. One dancer is painted white (Michael Smith, opposite prompt side of stage, captured in this photo), one dancer painted black (Tara Gower, prompt side of stage, not captured in this image, being 'cleaned' by dancer Jasmin Sheppard). What does this act of scrubbing and stripping away question... Is culture skin deep? Can culture be washed away through the demands of assimilation? Can culture stand impervious to subjugation. Fair skinned or dark, can cultural knowledge, language and spirituality lie quietly waiting to call through landscape and reclaim place? Photography Jess Bialek.
Hunt. Photography Jess Bialek.
The dancers smoke the space clearing the pain of the past, clearing the way for the future to reclaim and strengthen culture. The red V installation throbs as each individual track swings both independently and in connection to the whole. Moving quietly, the crimson pulses in the background like the blood, the kinship lineage, the spirituality and the traumas that are passed down from generation to generation, anchored by the framework of an ever-evolving culture. This V design was inspired by a traditional paint-up of the Eora people. Photography Jess Bialek.
Jasmin Sheppard and Thomas Greenfield as Patyegarang and William Dawes. Photography Greg Barrett.
When polar opposite cultures collide what will happen? How will the modified equilibrium settle? How will rules and protocols be established as territory is fought over? Where does domination begin and subjugation lead? Is an understanding possible and if so, will it be honoured? Here, the two dancers representing the Eora people and the colonists struggle to empathise and understand. The movement in this sections explores the vulnerability and strengths within both standpoints. Dancers Yolande Brown and Elma Kris. Photography Greg Barrett.
Tensions mount as the Eora people confront the many faces of subjugation and assimilation. How does this feed through the psyche of a nation, of a clan, of a person? The movements develop from this narrative. Photography Greg Barrett.
In the final section of 'Proclamation', on opposite sides of the stage, two dancers have their full body paint scrubbed off. One dancer is painted white (Michael Smith, opposite prompt side of stage- not captured in this photo), one dancer painted black (Tara Gower, prompt side of stage, shown in this image being 'cleaned' by dancer Jasmin Sheppard). What does this act of scrubbing and stripping away question... Is culture skin deep? Can culture be washed away through the demands of assimilation? Can culture stand impervious to subjugation. Fair skinned or dark, can cultural knowledge, language and spirituality lie quietly waiting to call through landscape and reclaim place? Photography Greg Barrett.
Tara Gower and Jasmin Sheppard. Photography Greg Barrett.
This scene reveals how comfortable and close Dawes and Patyegarang became as they shared cultural and personal understandings. The humpy is where Dawes and Patyegarang will pass a night. The elder's presence signals awareness within the clan of their growing friendship. Here, the lighting has an intimate feel and the silhouette of bodies inside the humpy is visible. Photography Greg Barrett.
This is a point in the production Patyegarang where territorial tension peaks. Patience dissolves as Ngalgear, played by Waangenga Blanco, unleashes his anger for the ravaging of his people by the red coats/settlers. Photography Greg Barrett, 2014
Thomas Greenfield playing William Dawes in the scene 'Departed'. Dawes prepares to leave his Eora friendships behind as he must return home with the marines. Dawes' journals revealed his strong desire to remain in Australia to continue his work here. His appeals against leaving were turned down. This scene draws on this part of his story, the movement exloring emotions of anguish, frustration and sadness. Photography Greg Barrett.
An image of anguish and pain, Dawes' red coat twists around Patyegarang's neck. She is turmoiled by her trusted and beloved friend Dawes' departure for the mother country and the ongoing fear rising out of the bloody battles for territory. Photography Greg Barrett.
An image imbued with layers of meaning, Patygarang lies with her head wrapped in a Red Coat's jacket. She surrenders to the land, as if seeking comfort from this ancient home. What has her relationship with Dawes and the settlers cost her, her people and her people's connection to country? Her skin sinks into the earth while her head, mind and thoughts are colonised. In a brief moment, this section captures the rift colonisation drives through the spirit, as people grapple through sickness and loss to hold onto identity, meaning and life. Photography Greg Barrett.