Re-Searching Gondwana aims to resurrect our Indigenous roots

Re-Searching Gondwana aims to resurrect our Indigenous roots

The creative residency program is the latest endeavour of the Australian sister organisation of Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia

THE Australian sister organisation of The Temple of Fine Arts Malaysia is undertaking a creative residency program, Re-Searching Gondwana, a hybrid creative development where digital and in-person activities bring together culturally diverse and internationally experienced artists from various parts of the globe.

The project seeks to invite creative dialogue and exchange between indigenous cultures that find their grassroots in the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. Through multidisciplinary artistic expression, the creatives inspire a production that seeks to demonstrate human unity, while embracing the diversity across nations.


Kamal Thurairajah, the creative director of Re-Searching Gondwana, addresses the audience during the showcase. – The Vibes pic/Nooreeza Hashim

Kamal Thurairajah, the creative director of the project described its inception, “we connected with a few people from across the world that we could trust in a creative space. It started in a digital space, and we came together in the spirit of finding something and collaborating. The people we brought onboard were representatives of this Gondwanaland.”

Participating artistes of the project include Joseph Gonzales (Malaysia), Olivier Tarpaga (Burkina Faso), Floeur Adler (Contemporary Australia) and Daniel Wilfred (Indigenous Australia).


Sukhi Shetty-Krishnan, a dancer from Temple of Fine Arts Singapore in performance. – The Vibes pic/Nooreeza Hashim

As part of the creative journey, participants will experience some of Malaysia’s rich culture with visits to the Mah Meri Orang Asli people of Pulau Carey, the Sri Subramaniyar Swami temple in Batu Caves and Klang River, alongside a series of creative development sessions and workshops by the diverse and talented group of creatives.

“We said, we will come together without knowing where we are going, and we will plan a process where we have three different residencies. This is the first residency: where we spent 10 days in Malaysia, visiting different sites and returning to the studio to create something. The next residency we hope to do in Australia, then finally ending the project in India or Africa,” Kamal said in his opening remarks during the launch event on Thursday (August 11).

The entire project follows an improvisational process or as Kamal explains, “it is a process based creative journey. For us, it is the first time we have embarked on something where at the point of embarkation we do not know where this is going to lead to. It was a choice we made. So, for instance, this time last week, we had no idea what we would be sharing here today. For the Malaysian audience, I hope you understand that this showcase tonight is the beginning and not the end.”

The project ‘Re (hyphen) Searching Gondwana’ is a reference to Gondwanaland, a supercontinent that existed on Earth about 180 million years ago. The continent eventually split into the landmasses we recognise today: Africa, South America, Australia, Antartica, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula. Gondwana was half of the Pangaea supercontinent, along with a northern supercontinent known as Laurasia.


Daniel Wilfred performs the didgeridoo during the showcase. – The Vibes pic/Nooreeza Hashim

The artiste headlining the project is Daniel Wilfred, who is an Australian Indigenous ceremonial leader from Ngukurr in southeast Arnhem Land. Daniel comes with a deep connection to the land and has a sound knowledge of the ancestral practices of his community. While Daniel lives in one of the most remote parts of Australia, he has also toured the world extensively as a performing artiste.

source – The Vibes

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