From Broome to Bathurst

SPELLBINDING: In Guddirr Gudirr, Dalisa Pigram shares an important and personal story about her community that the rest of our nation needs to hear. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
SPELLBINDING: In Guddirr Gudirr, Dalisa Pigram shares an important and personal story about her community that the rest of our nation needs to hear. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

THIS September Bathurst audiences will be treated to the first regional Australian tour of Gudirr Gudirr, a work which has been acclaimed in Spain, Belgium, Luxemburg, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Canada and Noumea.

Gudirr Gudirr is a spellbinding solo show created by Broome-based artist Dalisa Pigram.  Dalisa comes from a well-known family including grandfather and Senator Patrick Dodson and her seven brothers who form the Pigrim Brothers band.

Dalisa has powerful movement style derived from multiple influences.

“When someone looks at me or at anyone they begin to make a story for that person,” Dalisa said.

“My story is influenced by many things, my movement language is influenced by practices like Malaysian martial arts (Silat), gymnastics, memories of traditional movements and a focus of observing animal movements and behaviours — all these inform my contemporary style of moving.

“It’s a bit like the way I look, a type of mongrel breed. The place where I was born and bred also influences all that I do and the concerns for my community and culture are always present in my work.” 

Dalisa is also a qualified Yawuru language teacher and teaches in schools in her community.  While in Bathurst Dalisa will share her movement skills in a workshop with local dancers.

Guddirr Gudirr contains much more than movement, it is also a multi-layered story about Dalisa’s Kimberley community.

“I am introducing myself and others from my community from the inside out,” she said.

“The audience may see what’s inside of me. They may see the issues that I have that exist as inspirations and concerns through the movement of these characters, until they are left with just a person before them.

“Metaphorically the tide is turning for my community, not only the urgency to keep language and culture alive but also with the rapid rate at which some of our young people are taking their own lives.

“In one month alone in 2010, seven young people killed themselves and the youngest was 13 years old. We explore this devastating issue affecting the Kimberley region and my community in Gudirr Gudirr.”

This issue of youth suicide in the Kimberley hasn’t dissipated since 2010 in fact it has been exacerbated and just this week there is news of a new inquest and inquiry after 13 young people killed themselves in the past three and a half years.  Five of the deaths involved children between the age of 10 and 13.

In Guddirr Gudirr, Dalisa shares an important and personal story about her community that we all need to hear.  Performances are at BMEC on September 26-27.