General Thinking on The Streets of Barangaroo:
Australia, I Love You. But...
As a young country, our sense of nationalism has been forged in a myriad of ways. So in the lead-up to this year's Australia Day, we thought it'd be fitting to explore what being in love with Australia means to people from varying cultural backgrounds - the joys and pride, but also the heartbreak and shame.
In our first General Thinking on The Streets of Barangaroo event for 2016, we invited a group of talented speakers to read us their letters addressed to Australia as if it were a lover, brother, sister or parent. On a rainy January evening at the Wulugul Pop-Up, they gave us some serious food for thought, brought a tear to our eyes, and delivered a whole lotta laughs too.
If you missed out on tickets or couldn't make it to the event - don't stress! We filmed Nick Solo, Amrita Hepi, Troy Wong, Candy Bowers, Sara Saleh, Iman Etri and L-FRESH The LION doing their amazing thing and are pleased to share their evocative performances with you below (warning: colourful language!).
So fix yourself a cup of tea, get comfy on the lounge, and prepare to be challenged with new perspectives on our diverse country.
Nick Solo is the vocalist for Inner West Sydney hip-hop duo Horrorshow. Emerging in 2008 and having toured with The Herd, Muph & Plutonic and Hermitage, Horrorshow were nominated for an ARIA Award before the age of 21.
Bucking the trend for hip-hop to often be seen as somewhat self-indulgent, Solo’s lyrics are thoughtful and reflective touching on themes of politics, privilege, history, family and racism .
Amrita Hepi is an emerging independent choreographer and performance artist descending from the Ngapuhi tribe in Northern New Zealand and the Bundjulung people in northern New South Wales, Australia.
She is focused on making work that explores the identity of the divine other, and how movement has the capacity to be alchemically sacred.
Troy Wong is an English teacher by day and spoken word poet by night. He was a NSW state finalist in the 2014 Australian Poetry Slam and a national finalist in 2015, performing with 15 of the country's top spoken wordsmiths at the Sydney Opera House.
In addition to performing, he hosts the monthly Parramatta Poetry Slam, and has completed his honours research on developing high school students' critical literacy through spoken word poetry.
Candy Bowers is a writer/performer who spends her time between the stage and page dissecting race, culture, gender, hip hop, sexuality, white supremacy and indigeneity. Born of mixed parents from South Africa, Bowers grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and went on to study acting at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Whether performing on a basketball court in Alice Springs or at the Sydney Opera House, this woman brings the fire, the funny and the black feminine centre stage.
Sara Saleh and Iman Etri
Sara Saleh is committed to furthering human rights and literacy among the refugee community. She is a member of the Borad of Directors at Westwords, an advocate for social justice across the Australian Muslim community and has worked with Amnesty International.
Iman Etri is a student at WSU, majoring in history and political thought. She recently discovered that her desire to be an activist, requires her, by definition, to be active, and so joined the world of spoken word poetry.She is an avid pasta eater and smoothie drinker, and enjoys sunshine, volunteering, and uncomfortably long hugs.
L-FRESH The LION
L-FRESH The LION is renowned for his powerful presence, inspiring live shows and thought-provoking lyricism. In a short space of time, the Western Sydney artist has gone from underground community events and ciphers to national tours and major festivals.
Inspired by the soulful movement in US hip hop of the late 1990s / early 2000s, and the love and respect for his own cultural and ancestral roots of the Sikhs from Punjab, India.