The Adelaide Fringe Festival is on again and this year if there is one experience I would highly recommend attending, it is ‘Yabarra Dreaming in Light’. This beautiful multi-sensory experience invites people to learn more about the Kaurna culture, the aboriginal clan of the Adelaide plains, and pay respect to the land.
It takes place in a gallery space at Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide and the experience begins as if walking into a cave where you’re greeted with a message: ‘To walk softly on country is to walk bare foot, if you choose to walk this way you will be walking alongside the creation ancestors respectfully’.
On entering it does feel very cave like, deep, dark and mysterious and it takes a little while for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Before long your other senses take over and you become aware of the sounds of the bush and the voices of elders whispering almost as if carried on the breeze. All around you Spirit Trees are projected, the holders of wisdom, and the experience begins around a virtual campfire. The combination of visual and audio effects, smoke, light and sound sets the scene immediately. You are drawn into the story and as the story unfolds you gradually follow footprints below while the Milky Way guides you from above.
Guides are in the space with participants and in an unobtrusive way take you along a dreaming track to help you experience the stories of creation and country through incredible art illuminations. It seems no accident that participants begin to blend in and become part of the landscape, the trees and environment. A very powerful way of signifying the importance of being in harmony with our environment. The event is really ethereal and you almost feel like you are floating through the landscape and being taken on an other worldly ride.
The hour long event finishes with another light effect campfire story where you are prompted to think about the effects we are having on our land and how we are all responsible for the living spirit of our country, a very poignant way to end and one that leaves participants silent and deep in thought.
After visiting Yabarra – Dreaming in Light you can visit the gallery of Tandanya to see and purchase aboriginal art and products or you can stop for a while at the onsite café. Tandanya is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is the only institute of its kind in Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is showcased so it’s fitting that it is the First Nations Hub during the 2020 Adelaide Festival.
The Dreaming in Light experience is a free ticketed event that will be running from 10am to 10pm until March 15th. Tandanya is located at 253 Grenfell Street in the east end of Adelaide city.