A new installation at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute will put an unlikely subject front and centre: funerals.
'The Wake', a co-production between the institute, SBS and NITV, will take a look at the cultural processes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders surrounding death, as well as issues facing First Nations peoples today.
A video work, it will feature four writer-performers reflecting on their personal experiences of death and life, including Shari Sebbens, Sani Ray Townson, Yvonne Weldon and Matty Mills.
However it will be far from a morbid affair; the installation promises laughter as well, "the centrepiece of Australian Indigenous funerals and grief."
Laughter is the centrepiece of Indigenous Australian funerals and grief.
Directed by Adrian Wills and told with humour and bittersweet levity, 'The Wake' is an exploration of the issues facing Indigenous people from a variety of backgrounds, touching on the themes of birth, death and love.
Adrian’s other television directing credits include NITV’s own Black Divas, Rush, Wonderland, The Gods Of Wheat Street, 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, Emmy-nominated Ready For This, Wentworth, The Warriors and the upcoming RFDS.
In describing the work, producer Anusha Duray said the work was a chance for people to connect through shared experience.
"Funerals have become our family gatherings, our cultural connections, and ongoing reunions," said Ms Duray.
"Through The Wake we can talk about our similarities and differences, birth and death, beliefs and cultural practice, and connection."
The Wake premieres Friday 2 July, and will be on display until September 2, 2021
(This article was first published in 01/07/21 and amended on 02/07/21)