Tales of an Afronaut was an intimate work, lead by wani Le Frère, along with Nasa and Neil Morris. Driven mostly by a series of his own poems, wani takes the audacious step (in a short amount of time) of attempted to describe not only his own experiences with his family and upbringing, but also the larger experience of what the indigenous population endure.
There’s a lovely picture of the three respective men – a poet, a dancer, and a shamanistic figure – all resting on a couch. This isn’t an image of sloth, however, more the calm before action.
Some of that action is small moments carrying strong intent: A loving image of the setting sun, full and round against the red evening sky and darkening ground, evoked the Australian Aboriginal Flag at the end; earlier on, wani kneels and says a prayer, Neil working his way around the periphery with gum leaves, binding the space.
Later, the audio of a prisoner being ill-treated is used as an accompaniment to Nasa’s dancing, his mix of breakdance and capoeira an extraordinary counterpoint. It’s a shame there wasn’t more from these two, as the work – much like the work over the entire show – was beautiful.
Tales of an Afronaut
Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall, 521 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne
Performance: Friday 28 July 2017 – 7.00pm
Season: 26 – 28 July 2017
Image: wani Le Frère presents Tales of an Afronaut – photo by Ruth Ruach
Review: David Collins