The Centenary of Canberra Indigenous Cultural Program was officially launched today by Aunty Agnes O’Shea, an elder of the Ngunnawal people and local ACT identity, and Sir William Deane, patron of the Centenary of Canberra and former Governor-General. Following a welcome to country and assorted speeches, Tammi Gissell performed an excerpt from Liz Lea’s new work-in-progress Magnificus, magnificus in an outdoor setting beside the AIATSIS building on Acton Peninsula.
Magnificus, magnificus, a solo work for Gissell performed (at least on the occasion of the launch) to the accompaniment of didgeridoo and violin, builds on explorations into the habits of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo undertaken by Lea while choreographer-in-residence at the CSIRO Discovery Centre. Both Lea and Gissell have just recently returned from Bourke, New South Wales, where they engaged in ‘back to country’ activities. Their experiences will feed into the development of Magnificus, magnificus, which will have its full-scale production in October as part of the Centenary celebrations. Of that journey home Gissell wrote (in part):
North-River Bourke mob
two Darlings flowing in me
and still hot— © Tammi Gissell
Prior to the launch event I noticed Gissell going through the choreography before the performance. And what a setting she chose for her mini rehearsal—the huge, red, curling, concrete ramp that is the physical end of the National Museum of Australia’s ‘Uluru-axis’. The line it takes, which begins at the entrance to the Museum and follows a pathway past the AIATSIS building, appears to end with the curling ramp but in fact continues, in a conceptual sense, north-west to Uluru.
With thanks to Tammi Gissell.
Michelle Potter, 5 February 2013
Featured image: Tammi Gissell, launch program, AIATSIS 2013. Photo: Michelle Potter