From 9 April 2010
How do we honour our ancestors? In Japan, the act of memorialising the dead is known as kuyo, a ceremony whose origins are Buddhist in which prayers and offerings are made to honour and calm the spirits of the departed. But what happens when the dead lie far way, in Australia for example? Who will perform the rites of kuyo then? This question was one of the starting points for an original exhibition and performance titled In Repose now touring Australia. Blending dance, visual projection, sound-scapes, installation and the music of the Japanese koto, In Repose is a requiem for the Japanese migrants buried far from their homeland, and a celebration of the Australian communities who continue to tend those graves.
In Repose has already been performed at grave-sites in Townsville, Broome and Thursday Island and is now being brought to a wider audience at Sydney’s Japan Foundation. It brings together some of Australia’s finest artists including photographer Mayu Kanamori, dancer Wakako Asano, sound designer Vic McEwan, and Satsuki Odamura, a master performer of the Japanese stringed instrument, the koto. For this program Mayu, Wakako and Satsuki gathered to discuss the meaning of kuyo, it’s relevance for Japanese gravesites in Australia, and to play some of the music composed for the project.