Sydney Festival 2021: Requiem

By Jirayu Phaethongkham, via Shutterstock
By Jirayu Phaethongkham, via Shutterstock
Saturday 16 January - Sunday 24 January 2021

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Paddington Reservoir
251-255 Oxford St, Paddington, NSW



Red Room Poetry
The Living Room Theatre
Mount Annan Botanical Gardens
The Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney
Veterinarians for Climate Action

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How do we mourn and remember the inestimable loss – of animals, of flora, of ecological worlds – wrought by the black summer fires of 2019-2020?

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Artistic Director: Janet Laurence
Programme Curation: Danielle Celermajer and Michelle St Anne

How do we mourn and remember the inestimable loss – of animals, of flora, of ecological worlds – wrought by the black summer fires of 2019-2020?  Requiem the exhibition, by artist Janet Laurence, weaves together a programme of music, poetry, performance, literature, science, philosophy and environmental advocacy to craft a time-space for us to lament and be present to the reality of the loss. What does this loss mean for Australia’s unique and precious environment?

Within the ethereal inner chamber of the Paddington Reservoir, the installations and programme of events return us to the aesthetics and ethics of care and healing such that we might cultivate a renewed encounter with and commitment to our shared nature.

DAY 1 | Saturday 16 January 2021, 2.00 – 5.00pm

Join us for the opening Smoking Ceremony with YARN Australia and Fire Reflections from Oliver Costello, co-founder of the Firesticks Alliance.

Janet Laurence is a leading Sydney-based artist who creates immersive environments that navigate the interconnections between organic elements and systems of nature. Through recognizing the threat of climate change, she explores what it might mean to heal, the natural environment, fusing this with a sense of communal loss and search for connection with powerful life-forces. Janet Laurence is represented by Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide.

Danielle Celermajer is a writer and professor at the University of Sydney and convener of Multispecies Justice collective. In recent years, her work has turned from a focus on human rights and the violence and injustice perpetrated against other humans, to a broader consideration of intersection of human, animal and environmental justice, ethics and life. Through the experience of living through the black summer bushfires as part of a multispecies community, she began writing about a new crime of our age, omnicide. Her book, Summertime, written from the midst of the fires, will be published by Penguin in February 2021.

Michelle St Anne is a multidisciplinary theatrical artist and co-founder and artistic director of The Living Room Theatre. A site-responsive artist whose immersive and intimate works eschew traditional narrative-driven performance, Michelle’s work is known for its unique, and often profound, audience engagement. Her extensive body of work is centred upon themes of violence, complicity and women’s bodies. Her stories are meted out through the elongation of time, using object and light; film and movement; body, sound and space. Michelle is a founding member and Deputy Director at the Sydney Environment Institute where she leads the multidisciplinary project, ‘Sites of Violence’.


This is a free event, registration is required due to limited numbers complying with NSW Covid restrictions. For more information, visit the 2021 Sydney Festival website.