‘When I see a flower, it reminds me of who I am,’ says poet and performer Edwin Lee Mulligan, staring at the audience. ‘Others can stop my dignity but can’t stop my bloom.’
So begins Ngarlimbah, the first performance in a triple bill of solo works by Marrugeku, an Indigenous dance company based in Sydney and Broome. Under the program name, Burrbgaja Yalirra, which roughly translates to ‘dancing forwards’ from Yawuru, each of the three works imagine radical ways to survive and resist under the ongoing violence of colonisation in Australia. Burrbgaja Yalirra champions speculative storytelling as a tool for healing and reciprocity. It offers alternative ways of thinking about the historical past, retellings of the white vanishing myth, and a tentative utopia as another means possible outside the white settler story.