When Vivid Sydney kicks off this weekend, the six metre tall puppet installation, ‘Marri Dyin” (‘Great Woman’ in Sydney local language) returns taking centre stage at the Barangaroo waterfront precinct which will be transformed into a magical busland setting entitled, ‘Winter Camp’.
The artistic collaboration brings together the talents of Erth Visual & Physical Inc., Jacob Nash, Mandylights and James Brown. Combining world-class puppetry, mechanics, sound and light, the artwork and performance will be a spectacular showcase of Australian artistic innovation and creativity.
The ever changing seasons are what set the tone for Winter Camp, a site where visitors can immerse themselves in the surrounding audio visual disaplays in an interactive narrative of puppetry, gather, reflect and honour the land of the world’s oldest living culture. Inspired by the migration by First Nation peoples moving throughout the land in search of shelter and food.
“Marri Dyin emerges from our commitment to reflect the cultural significance of the area, the multi-layered history of Barangaroo and Sydney’s most vibrant place to work, live and relax.” said Barangaroo Executive Director, Activation and Precinct Manager, Sandra Bender
The installation experience will also expand to include a school of captivating, illuminated fish puppets.
In a first for Barangaroo, a series of workshops will be held in the leadup to the festival. They will be led by First Nations choreographer and dancer Albert David and will initiate Sydney school children into the story of Marri Dyin, teaching them simple puppeteering skills and basic choreography.
“We are welcoming children into Marri Dyin’s nightly ceremony this year, because it is the children that will take what we share with them into the future, ensuring the preservation of ancient knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.” said Scott Wright, Artistic Director of Erth. Each performance night of Vivid Sydney, a different group of school children will join Erth’s performers to puppeteer the school of fish along the waterfront, offering young people an exceptional opportunity to be part of an iconic Sydney experience, and creating a beautiful visual element dancing and moving around the great woman.
“Not only do we get to tell stories and create things that have never been seen before, but more importantly we get to share these moments with community and inspire the next generation.” added Jacob Nash, Design Consultant and Creative Collaborator.
From Monday to Wednesday, Marri Dyin will sit in still contemplation by the crackling campfire. During Thursday to Sunday evening performances, she will once again roam the waterfront, accompanied by the school of fish, and inviting audiences to join her as she prepares for the winter months ahead. As she moves through the landscape, she will invite audiences to speak the names and meanings of her surroundings in traditional language, and greet children, sharing a quiet moment of intimacy and contemplation.
Marri Dyin is not a traditional spirit, rather she is a contemporary concept; an elemental spirit intrinsically connected to the land. Her existence seeks to recognise the influence and importance of the First Nations women, including Barangaroo, who lived in Sydney prior to settlement. Marri Dyin represents their strength and spirit, and their role as providers for their people through a connection to the land and its waterways.
WHEN: Winter Camp – 24 May – 15 June, 6 – 9pm
Shows: Monday – Wednesday, performances Thursday
WHERE: Exchange Place and Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo
Credit: Steven Woodburn / Destination NSW