Dharawungara by Joel Bray (Complexity of Belonging) is a collision of rituals. Following his successful work Biladurang, the audience is invited to reimagine the theatre as a ceremonial ground of light and sound, as Joel explores how to breathe life into this Wiradjuri rite he has only ever read about. Naretha Williams joins Bray onstage as songwoman, and her driving beats conjure the space around us. Together they create a site of intersection between his ancestral ceremonial practice, our collective imagination and the realities of colonization.
Concept, Direction & Choreography Joel Bray
Performer Joel Bray
Lighting Design Amelia Lever-Davison
Sound Artist Naretha Williams
Costume Kate Davis
Photos by Pippa Samaya
It’s this raw mix of Aboriginal identity with European-influenced contemporary performance art that makes Dharawungara, in all its complexity, something unique. Serious subject, peppered with humour, Dharawungara has a lot to chew on …
When he begins the dance, the shift is remarkable: we watch as the elements Bray has casually put together are transformed into dance of urgency and beauty, as he himself begins to embody the spirit of transformation, of crossing the threshold into another state of being. There’s no pretence to “authenticity” here: what we are watching is not only a process of reclamation, but an act of creation.