Australia Fest in India presents
Churning Waters
28th Jan, Puducherry
31st Jan, Kanchipuram
3rd Feb, Chennai

January 2, 2019


Photo: Sonal Jain
Churning Waters is a research based performance project that investigates Australia India engagement from a feminist postcolonial perspective, to ask how water has been imagined in the past, present and future in mythological stories, song lines, and movement to better understand climate change and water futures in the contemporary moment. This project brings a unique intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration between Indigenous Australian, Indian Australian and Indian artists from rural and urban backgrounds. The purpose of the performance is to share deep knowledges (some that go back 60000 years) to audiences with different language and cultural backgrounds to make the ideas more accessible to diverse communities of indigenous artists and audiences in rural and urban backgrounds of different caste class and gender. This performance proposes a nuanced understanding of water futures whilst simultaneously addressing a different understanding of India in Australia not as a recent phenomenon of migration post 1973 but rather with a much older interconnected past evidenced through embodied practices in Indian and Indigenous performance such as song lines, music, dance, visual art as well as archaeological evidence that goes back at least 4000 years.

‘Churning Waters’ with Artistic Director Dr. Priya Srinivasan brings together an ensemble of respected cultural leaders and world renowned artists/performers from Victoria, the Northern Territory, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Meghalaya to be shared in India as part of Australia Festival in India in January-February 2019.
 
This project is supported by the Australian High Commission in India, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and local Indian partners Adishakti and Dakshina Chitra.
 
Artists: Gina Maree Bundle (Melbourne), Green Kumar (Kanchipuram), Loganathan (Kanchipuram), Nadine Lee (Darwin), Priyadarsini Govind (Chennai), Dr. Priya Srinivasan (Melbourne), Sonal Jain (Assam/Meghalaya), and Sylvia Nulpinditj (Arnhem Land/ Darwin), Thilagavathi (Kanchipuram/Chennai) and Uthra Vijay (Melbourne).

Quotes:
“Churning waters is a culmination of my journey as an Indian and Australian to acknowledge our common ties especially between two ancient cultures and ask how these knowledges can be used to understand climate change, pollution and the water crises we face now. Audiences will be startled by an immersive site specific performance requiring them to move, participate and experience the performance with unexpected juxtapositions of interdisciplinary art practices that are genre defying blend of contemporary/classical/folk/ rural/ urban practices and aesthetics with the highest level of artists from Australia and India.”
- Dr. Priya Srinivasan, Artistic director - Churning Waters, Melbourne, Australia
 
“One of the things we found when developing and rehearsing Churning Waters was the similarities in words and stories of both our cultures, which made the learning together even more special. When I started this journey with Priya and my family, I never dreamed it would lead me to be travelling to India, I still can't quite believe it!”
- Gina Maree Bundle, Artist, Melbourne, Australia

“Churning Waters has been a remarkable experience because of the diversity of artists working with each other to find common ground yet retaining the power and politics of their respective disciplines. What has been a revelation and a humbling experience is the fact that both the ancient cultures of Australia and India have used art to show the wise connections between nature and human life. What we are showcasing through this collaboration is a strong documentation of two diverse yet similar cultures through dance, music and theatre.”
- Priyadarsini Govind, Artist, Chennai


From l to r: Gina Bundle, Priyadarsini Govind, Priya Srinivasan,
Vicki Couzens, Uthra Vijay
Photo: Anand Bala
Performance schedule:
28th Jan 2019, 7pm
Adishakti, Auroville, Puducherry

31st Jan 2019, 9pm
Mettumulluvadi Village, Kanchipuram

3rd Feb 2019, 4.30pm
Dakshina Chitra, Chennai

Additionally, in partnership with Aanmajyothi, Churning Waters will also be presented in select schools in Chennai in January.

For further info, please contact Shreya Singh: +91 97909 24889
Additional information about Australia Festival available at www.australiafest.com

Artists:
Gina Maree Bundle is a Yuin/Monero cultural leader from the south coast of NSW and has lived and worked in Victoria from a young age. She is a versatile practicing artist in Visual Arts and is a painter, print maker and photographer, and more recently a Performance Artist. In her art practice, Gina is working toward the reclamation of her traditional Art and Dance to produce images and dance in a contemporary way. She is a member of the Facilitating Team for the Possum Skin Healing Cloaks Program. This program is in collaboration with the Victoria Health Department. She has performed in several major festivals in an indigenous Indian collaboration including Jaipur Literary Festival (Asiatopa, 2017), Melbourne Writers Festival Opening (2017), Serpent Dreaming Women (2017), Paalam (2018) and is a co-creator and participant in Serpent Dreaming Women since its inception and now ‘Churning Waters.’

Green Kumar is one of young rising stars of the Kattaikkuttu form of performance based in Kanchipuram, India. He studied at the acclaimed Kattaikkuttu Sangam, a leading school of performing arts from 2002 to 2010. He graduated and became a teacher at the same academy for four years. Since 2014, he has been the lead actor for the troupe Sri Krishna Kattaikkuttu Company. He has received critical acclaim for his performances and continues to be a favorite with the audience. 

Nadine Lee is a Larrakia community member and renowned artist with a love of dance and passion for personal healing and recovery for her fellow community members.  Nadine was a key contributing member of the Larrakia Healing group and author of the resource Caring for Country, Caring for Each Other (2016). Nadine has worked in diverse roles in the fields of health and the arts.  She has completed a degree in Creative Arts and Industries (Visual Arts) at CDU, and her recent exhibitions have gained her significant acclaim and led to her receiving a traveling scholarship for Indigenous cultural workers by the National Museum of Australia and The Princes Trust Charities of Australia.  Nadine recently toured internationally contributing to Healing Arts festivals in Indonesia, France and Spain. 

Priyadarsini Govind is one of the foremost Bharatanatyam dancers in the world today. Trained by two stalwarts, S.K. Rajarathnam Pillai and Kalanidhi Narayanan, Priyadarsini with her natural aptitude for abhinaya coupled with her passion and dedication to her art, is a dancer known for her adherence to tradition, while managing to seamlessly blend new choreography with her work thereby gently redefining the boundaries of Bharatanatyam repertoire. She is actively engaged in performing, creating new repertoires for dance and teaching. She has been a key part of the intercultural collaboration between Indian and Indigenous Australian artists since its inception as ‘Serpent Dreaming Women’ and continues to co-create, choreograph and participate in ‘Churning Waters.’ 

Dr. Priya Srinivasan is an artist/ scholar and the Artistic Director of ‘Serpent Dreaming Women’ and ‘Churning Waters’ bringing together Indian artists together with Indian Australian and Indigenous artists from Australia. She is a dancer, choreographer and scholar who combines theory and practice. Her performances and research prioritize decolonization making visible minority women’s histories. Originally from Chennai and Melbourne, Priya was trained in the classical and contemporary Indian and Asian arts by Dr. Chandrabhanu and performed extensively in Australia and Asia with the Bharatam Dance Company. She emerged as an independent interdisciplinary artist and her work brings together live bodily performance with visual art, interactive multimedia and digital technology to think about archives of the body, migration, and female labor. She has created site specific intercultural performance work in diverse settings such as universities, museums, galleries, and theatres in many countries.
 
Sonal Jain co-founded Desire Machine Collective with Mriganka Madhukaillya in 2004. They work with the intersection of film, art, ecology, technology and activism. Their practice spans film, video, photography, digital media, public intervention, curation and writing. The works of the collective stress the evocative power of aesthetic experiences to address the power structures that constantly infiltrate capitalist forms of society. Sonal is currently working on her first feature film project and one of her most renowned works is Periferry, a project that functions as a hybrid laboratory, which brings together artistic, scientific and technological practices. The aim of this ongoing project is to encourage experimentation and exploring new forms of public space. Desire Machine Collective has presented their works in prestigious art biennale and festivals in Venice, Germany, and many places around the world winning several key awards. Sonal has worked with ‘Serpent Dreaming Women’ since its inception and continues to co-create and participate in ‘Churning Waters.’
 
Sylvia Nulpinditj is an artist and Yolgnu cultural leader who works for the Aboriginal Resource Development Service as a radio presenter, and also offers Indigenous cultural consultancy services. Sylvia is from the Galpu clan and is recognised as a traditional artist by a variety of clan groups in north Arnhem Land including her knowledge of music, stories, and dance. She is particularly respected in the area of painting women for ceremony and especially young girls. Sylvia enjoys sharing and teaching culture.  She hopes, through sharing, that there will be a greater understanding of importance of culture – and for others to embrace it. She is also experienced in filmmaking – known for writing and directing the films ‘Bulunu Milkarri’ and ‘Djurrpun’ (Evening Star).
 
Thilagavathi is without a doubt the face of the folk theatre form Kattaikkuttu today.  She graduated from the Kattaikkuttu Sangam in 2010 as one of the first female Kattaikkuttu performers, breaking new ground as the first female to emerge. She has since co-founded the Sri Krishna Kattaikkuttu Company. She is a versatile Kuttu artist who has performed in the UK, France and Malaysia, and interned with Theatre du Soleil, headed by the renowned Ariane Mnouchkine. Thilaga is a dynamic and talented facilitator whose creativity, empathy and capacity for fun is endless.  

Uthra Vijay is the Artistic Director of Keerthana School of Music in Melbourne that she founded in 2003. She is a versatile artist, composer and educator, who is equally comfortable working in the classical realm or experimenting with non-classical forms of music including popular music and contemporary forms. She has trained under many gurus including S.P. Ramh from the Lalgudi School of Music, winning several awards and performing in a range of venues in India and Australia and has directed several concerts. She has also composed and sung for dance in classical and contemporary performances in Melbourne for several festivals such as Mapping Melbourne, Jaipur Literary Festival and AsiaTOPA. She has worked extensively on inter-cultural and site specific performances as well as ‘Talking Dances’ with dancer Priya Srinivasan and Iranian, Yiddish, Surinamese, Flamenco and Indigenous singers in Melbourne, London, Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona and has been an integral part of composing the music for ‘Serpent Dreaming Women’ and ‘Churning Waters.’

e-mail: priya.srinivasan@unimelb.edu.au