The Voyage of Bayini is a new cross-cultural work in music, song and dance created by a group of First Nations artists from Arnhem Land and Taiwan with ancient ancestral connections. It intertwines three Yolŋu stories about some of the first visitors to Arnhem Land.
Rachael Wallis, Artistic Director of Miku Performing Arts, first met and collaborated with Sang Mei-Chuan and Labaga Taru during participation in Artback NT’s 2018 Taiwan Indigenous Artist in Residency Program. In 2020 Art Centre Melbourne, Asia TOPA and Australian Performing Arts Market’s (APAM) Blak LAB facilitated these three artists, together with another two artists from Taiwan and three artists from Yirrkala, to travel to Melbourne and share a creative space. Here they began discussion and planning of the new work.
Inspired by stories from the homelands of Bawaka and surrounds ‘The Voyage of Bayini’ is a collaboration of two cultures, the Yolŋu people of North East Arnhem Land and the Paiwan and Truku tribes of Taiwan. Captured through songlines and culture that are still sung today, the two groups work together to share the stories of their ancestors’ journeys through music, song and dance.
Since millennia voyagers have travelled to Yolŋu country in peace and with respect. They tell of connections and exchanges by interweaving different stories, myths and legends that have been passed down from families and loved ones. Each artist weaves pieces of their contemporary selves into this historical retelling, adding to the fabric of these treasured stories. The ‘Voyage of Bayini’ shines a light for the world on some of the untold and unknown histories of First Nations peoples.
This project is supported by Arts Centre Melbourne, Playking Foundation and the Australia Council for the Arts.
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Cast & crew
Miku Performing Arts: Rachael Wallis, Artistic Director, plus seven performers from Arnhem Land, Australia
Senior Story Custodian and Cultural Director: Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr Stubbs
Composer and musician, Paiwan Tribe, Taiwan: Sang Mei-Chuan
Composer and musician, Truku Tribe, Taiwan: Labaga Taru
Dancer, Paiwan Tribe, Taiwan: Piya Talalima
Dancer, Paiwan Tribe, Taiwan: Lavjaus Chen
Co-producers, Australia: Artback NT & Kath Papas Productions
Collaborating producer, Paiwan Tribe, Taiwan: Manie Liao