First Nations & South Asian arts in conversation. Sounds of the veena, stories of home-making from Sri Lanka to Australia, Wiradjuri ways and Aboriginal dance converge on the north shore of Sydney.
How can we build relationships on First Nations lands with each other and place, through culture and our own histories? The Gai-mariagal Festival brings a conversation between First Nations and South Asian voices on place and belonging in this very special performance of Bhoomi ("earth").
A rare opportunity to experience conversations between the veena (Indian stringed instrument), guitar, contemporary and traditional Aboriginal dance, spoken story, kolam – an art of decorating the earth, and mridangam (percussion). Seeking to explore place, belonging and diaspora together, the South-Asian-Australian artists and First Nations artists will then have a panel discussion about what this means for them and how they can navigate living these ideas in community and with each other. Chai and sweets will be on offer at the end to reflect together on what we have heard and seen.
Indu Balachandran plays the veena, learning from her mother and grandmother. As an Indian-Australian, her more recent work explores relationship to place. Indu has created work for the Sydney Festival and was lead instrumentalist for the acclaimed 2022 production of The Jungle and the Sea at the Belvoir Theatre. Indu is a Lifelong Atlantic Fellow.
Wiradjuri Woman Ella Havelka is passionate about creating new pathways for First Nations healing and language revitalisation through movement-based art forms, dance and theatre. Currently, a freelance artist living on Cameraygal lands, Ella has danced for The Australian Ballet, Bangarra Dance Theatre and is an Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity.
Shankari Chandran is an Australian Tamil lawyer and the author of Song of the Sun God (2022), Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens (2022) and The Barrier (2017). The first two novels in her Ellie Harper political thriller series will be published in 2024. She writes about dispossession, erasure and the creation of home.
Tristan is a proud Walbunga, Gurriwal and Sri Lankan musician, actor and cultural consultant. As the first recipient of The David Page Music Fellowship for Bangarra Dance Theatre, he has composed music for Bangarra, The Australian Ballet and The ELLA Foundation. Tristan was the Cultural Producer for the Memory episode of Limitless with Chris Hemsworth, streaming on Disney+.First Nations & South Asian arts in conversation. Sounds of the veena, stories of home-making from Sri Lanka to Australia, Wiradjuri ways and Aboriginal dance converge on the north shore of Sydney.