First Lights – Buungbaa-ma-ndhu

Kirli Saunders

Saturday 24 June 2023

1 Art Gallery Lane, Bowral NSW

Date and time

Saturday 24 June 2023

6.20pm AEST

Accessibility

Date and time

Saturday 24 June 2023
6.20pm AEST

Accessibility

Award-winning Gundungurra raised Gunai writer and artist, Kirli Saunders (OAM), energizes mugaru (cold winter) with her synchronous installation of language and light, Buungbaa-ma-ndhu meaning rise (as the sun), all of you. Remnant of a bedtime story told around the campfire, Saunders’ poetic bi-lingual digital work rouses audiences to collaborate and create a powerful future together, “to rise, like light from the fire, mountain top…whirlwind, diamond python, black cockatoo”. Conjured with welcome dance from local First Nations families and community, this choreographed and responsive drone show is presented by Fremantle Biennale and Ngununggula for First Lights.

“It’s an honor to work alongside artists like Ilona McGuire and Kim Scott for an East Coast iteration of First Lights, especially on the lands that raised me, here in the Highlands on Gundungurra lands at Ngununggula. Language is experiential, it’s felt and created in the body, it connects us and helps us find meaning. In this vein, this work, Buungbaa-ma-ndhu is an immersion. It’s a conversion to be a part of –  something to soak in, to feel deeply and to know so we can forge paths and walk together. I feel really grateful to write in the language taught to me by the Late Aunty Velma Mulcahy (OAM) – my Pop’s sister, and also to center the wisdom of other language teachers like Aunty Sharyn Halls and through her the work of Jim Barrett. To see this work simultaneously be brought forth with First Nations students from local public schools, who are dancing a Welcome dance taught by Aunty Sharyn and local Arawkwal Bundjalung woman, Mel Wiya is really exciting. Ultimately, it’s these young ones who’ll be the carriers of our language, our dance, our art, our stories – it’s our young ones we’re carving out a nourishing future for.” – Kirli Saunders, Artist

Sound Design: Envelope Audio
Narrated by Kirli Saunders
Animation: Jarrad Russell
Technical Partner: Stellar Lights and EAVP
Livestream & Videography: Kitecast

The artist would like to acknowledge language teachers, her great aunt, the late Aunty Velma Mulcahy (OAM),  Aunty Sharyn Halls and through her the language teaching of Jim Barrett and Melissa Wiya and Aunty Sharyn for their generous teaching of the Welcome Dance as well as First Nations students from Bowral, Berrima, Mittagong, Moss Vale, Robertson and Tallong Public School.

First Lights – Buungbaa-ma-ndhu was presented as part of the MIDWINTER FESTIVAL at Ngununggula.  A site-responsive festival that brings together nationally acclaimed artists  to celebrate the cultural and social voice of the region. 23 – 25 June.

About the artist

Kirli Saunders

Kirli Saunders (OAM) is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning multidisciplinary artist and consultant. An experienced speaker and facilitator advocating for the environment and equality, Kirli was the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2020). In 2022, she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to the arts, particularly literature.

1 Art Gallery Lane, Bowral NSW 2576, Australia

Our brand new lane is off the corner of Rowland Road and the northern end of Jonathan Street in East Bowral.

CONTACT
hello@ngununggula.com
(02) 4861 5348

Ilona McGuire, First Lights – Moombaki (2021). Courtesy of the artist and the Fremantle Biennale. Photo: Duncan Wright.