WARRANGU; RIVER STORY
PREMIERE 12 JUNE 2022 | ART GALLERY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
“Warrangu. That’s the river. Any river. Water source, creek. River. Warrangu”
- Brad Steadman
In WARRANGU; River Story, music written and composed by DOBBY fills the Entrance Court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales with powerful orchestral sounds and energetic beats, while his voice – together with those of fellow knowledge holders – shares the plight of important NSW rivers. This moving and immersive story-telling performance reconnects us to Country.
The stories follow three rivers that form cultural boundaries in Brewarrina NSW: the Bogan River to the South, the Culgoa River to the North, and the Barwon River to the East. Water theft on a grand scale has been occurring in the region for years. In particular, over-irrigation and redirection of the waterways known as the Murray Darling Basin for the profit of almonds and cotton have caused horrific and irreversible damage to our ecosystem. In addition, last year up to a million fish died in Menindee NSW, rendering it the biggest fish kill in history, due to the high levels of Blue Green algae in the rivers.
It is evident that the waters in our rivers have been mismanaged on a catastrophic level, and DOBBY's explorations provide the soundtrack for community grown demonstration against the commodification and privatisation of a water source that is depended upon by over three million people.
Songs like Water and Language Is In The Land speak directly to the devastating impact on the Murray Darling Basin as a result of illegal mass irrigation, while events like this create a platform and opportunity to educate and protest corporate greed.
“My grandmother Mary Clapham Nee Shearer was born and raised in Brewarrina. Her father, George Shearer, was born under the birthing tree on Murrawarri land on the Culgoa at Corella Station.
WARRANGU; River Story is a journey back home to my family’s history, a connection to Culture” – DOBBY.
Presented by Vyva Entertainment in partnership with Vivid Sydney
Written, composed and performed by DOBBY
Musicians: Kelsey Iris, Lolita Emmanuel,
Knowledge holders of the Brewarrina Shire region: Brad Steadman, Aunty Josie Byno, Aunty Lily Shearer and Uncle Tommy Barker
Executive producer: Vyva Entertainment
Producer: Vyvienne Abla
WARRANGU; River Story is a project DOBBY has researched, composed and produced as the 2017 recipient for the Create NSW Peter Sculthorpe Fellowship.