River Rites 2015
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Images by Julie Millowick. Created by Jude Anderson and Nici Wright with Glenys Leske, Ruth Pech, Robyn Andrews and Lorraine Marter.
Is it a bird, is it a plane? Is it a bunyip, wilder man, yeti, boogie man, nuuttipukki, urati, cerbul, merdules, urtzu or domadores?
A celebration of our cultural connection to country, River Rites is a 'neo pagan rural rite'. It combines extraordinary disguise making from repurposed materials found on Berri/Barmera farms and natural environs with filmmaking, photography and performance.
In September 2015 River Rites moved through the central streets of Berri to the Berri Field Day and culminated in participatory installation at the River Land Art Gallery.
River Rites celebrated the 'spirit of place' for Murray River communities - its geographies, time cycles, stories, cultures and people.
In farming communities facing rapid change, cultural gatherings play an important role in joyously strengthening connections whilst acknowledging and celebrating singular stories of courage and resilience.
River Rites was such a gathering - a contemporary and localised invention of a rural rite that allows the imagination to run wild and resist the industrialisation of human spirit to celebrate and joyfully honour the resilience of Australian rural communities.
River Rites draws on the worldwide cultural tradition of exhibitions and performances tied to seasonal revolutions, cyclical change and folklore in the form of elaborate disguises and publicly celebrated rituals. These rites link residents to their past and a future where their resilience is feted and their spirit of place is ‘unleashed’.
Concept and Artistic Direction: Jude Anderson/Punctum
With: Jessica Foster, Nici Wright and residents of the Berri/Barmera Riverland district.
Photographs by Julie Millowick