Sand Song is a contemporary crossing of culture between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Centred around a large ground artwork of red sand, white ochre, emu feathers and ancestor poles, five pathways spread out from the central area where the majestic ancestor poles stand tall.
Designed by visual artist Walbira Murray and choreographed by Deon Hastie, Sand Song is a contemporary crossing of culture between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Centred around a large ground artwork of red sand, white ochre, emu feathers and ancestor poles, five pathways spread out from the central area where the majestic ancestor poles stand tall.
The audience enters the contemporary ceremony ground where the Sand Song ground art pattern is lined with thousands of dream holders which are made by children as part of the workshop conducted prior to the performance with images of what is sacred to them. Over a 20 minute performance, fire maker (Rick Roser) creates images using traditional aboriginal techniques including fire making, ochre spraying and net weaving. He gifts the fire to the dancers who light the dream holders in a playful and contemporary ritual that spreads the dreams of thousands of children and the community.
At the conclusion, the candles are blown out and children can take their dream holder with them.
Originally presented outdoors as part of Brisbane Festival 2009, then reworked for the theatre at the 2010 Out of the Box Festival, Sand Song is designed to work indoors or out under the stars and the design can work in a variety of spaces.
About Walbira Murray
Walbira is a Gumillaroi woman, from Dirranbandi. Walbira’s earliest memories are of living in the fringe dwellers camp on the banks of the Ballone River in a shack her father had built. Walbira is a traditional dancer, Artistic Director, Arts Facilitator, Art Maker and Events Coordinator. She combines traditional and contemporary practices, crafting spaces and experiences that reflect a connection to spirituality and allow for an interface between Indigenous and non Indigenous people.
She has worked on a local, state, national and international level. She has toured internationally to Europe, North America, and Asia numerous times to showcase Indigenous arts and culture through performance and exhibitions. Her work is influenced by connection to country and her culture. The colours and textures of the ghost gums, flat plains, slow rivers and deep earth colours of her country are often experienced in her work. This connection to country drives her to create spaces and experiences where Indigenous and non Indigenous people can interface on a level that encourages exploring mutual connection to place and the spiritual base of country.
Out of the Box Festival, Brisbane
“Thank you! That was amazing! That is the best show I have seen all year. I loved it. It was just amazing. The choreography the kids the lights, the space…” Paul Adam, Tutor. Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts
“I was fortunate to experience Sand Song yesterday at the Out of the Box festival – it was such a beautiful production, and wonderful to see such an engaged audience of children.” Jacina Leong, Public Programs Officer. Ipswich Art Gallery
Set Design and Artwork Walbira Murray (Gumillaroi woman, from Dirranbandi)
Choreographer/Dancer Deon Hastie (Djabugay country Far North Qld)
Dancers Rosealee Pearson (Yolngu from Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land); Sani Townson (Saibai Koedal clan of Saibai Island, Torres Strait Islands); Hannah Scanlon (Kamilaroi people in Coolah NSW)
Composer Lou Bennet (Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung)
Sculptor, Painter, Performer, Artefact Maker Rick Roser (Bigambul people in Qld / N.S.W. Border And Wadjalang people S/W Qld.)
Concept Director Elena Vereker
Dramaturg/Associate Director (Producer) Jason Cross
Production & Technical Manager Niccolo Gallio