Walk on fallow lands 2, 2015
Presented as part of Performing Mobilities Symposium in Melbourne, below is the abstract written for the Symposium publication:
"Walk on fallow lands II is a performance work that invites people to walk the land - and engage with the heavy and multiple narratives of colonisation - thereby excavating the multiple histories in the landscape. The act of walking, as ritual and guiding, brings forth oral histories and a valuing of land. The work simultaneously proposes an engagement with two indigenous worldviews. With reference to her homeland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, the artist traces her Maori temporality and whakapapa (geneaology) back to Papatuanuku the Earth Mother and Ranginui the Sky Father, which is fundamental to the way in which Maori value land. Equally, for Aboriginal Australia, many people consider the land as “Mother, for she gives birth to us and nurtures us through our life”.
Aboriginal and Maori people have expressed and shared these ideas through oral history and language, which have been threatened (sometimes eliminated) by colonial structures, identities and formations. Walk on fallow lands II thereby draws on a Maori view of history that requires an understanding of whakapapa (genealogy) in affirming identity. The saying “I nga wa o mua,” which alludes to the past being something that lies in front of you rather than something you leave behind, and illustrates a cyclical view of history as each person is added to the whakapapa and the story moves forward, bringing the past with it.
In honouring the memories and myths of significance to the first people of Australia and presenting these through a Maori lens the artists seeks to disrupt Western narratives of place by removing dominant hierarchies. “Just as when I am walking, my feet are the waka and I carry the embodied knowledge within me.”
The walk commenced at Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne, progressing over the Birrarung river, finishing at the Victorian College of the Arts.
For full text and response by Jen Rae, visit the link:
2015 Performing Mobilities Melbourne, Walk on fallow lands 2, walk series. Photo credit, Petri Saarikko.