Vivid Barangaroo: Winter Camp

Rebecca Varidel
10th May 2019

Fittingly, the Vivid installation at Barangaroo this year again includes the “great woman” Marri Dyin one of the largest puppets in Australia, the glowing 6 metre tall who will walk from her winter camp to the Barangaroo waterfront to reflect the traditional winter season migration of First Nations peoples to the coast. This year in a Barangaroo first she will also be surrounded on performance nights Thursday to Sunday by a school of fish puppets (her food source), operated by a different group of local Sydney schoolchildren each night.

The bushland foreshore is named after Aboriginal woman Barangaroo a member of the Cammeraygal clan of the Eora Nation, who was the second wife of Bennelong (the interlocutor between the Aboriginal people and the early British colonists in New South Wales). While Bennelong spent considerable time in the British colonial settlement in Sydney, Barangaroo maintained her way of life with her people.

Inspired by the changing seasons, the 2019 Vivid Barangaroo Winter Camp will be a space where visitors can reflect on their own experiences surrounded by light and sound, enhanced by the visual narrative of puppetry Winter Camp will be a place to gather, reflect and honour the fact that Sydney stands on the land of the oldest continually living culture.

The installation experience will also expand to include a school of captivating, illuminated fish puppets. In a first for Barangaroo, a series of workshops led by First Nations choreographer and dancer Albert David will be held in the lead-up to the festival and will initiate Sydney school children into the story of Marri Dyin, teaching them simple puppeteering skills and basic choreography.

From Monday to Wednesday, Marri Dyin will sit in still contemplation by the crackling campfire, and 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, or share 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, who lived in Sydney prior to colonial 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.

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. Wnter Camp 2019 each night from 6pm to 9pm 24 May to 16 June will showcase a spectacular night of Australian artistic innovation and creativity.