March 7. 2020, Sydney Opera House
Two years ago, we stumbled on Badu Gili, a projection of animated Australian aboriginal art onto one of the sets of sails on the Sydney Opera House. I found a flyer tucked into a rack so we stuck around.
This year we took the train to the Blue Mountains and while we were having dinner in a local restaurant, I remembered this program. I pulled out my iPhone and found that it is still going on, and if we wrapped up supper and headed for the train station, we could make it on time for the later showings.
The instillation was originally called “Songlines” but in 2017 they changed the name to Badu Gili, which means “Water Light” in the Gadigal language, the language of the original “owners” of Bennelong Point, where the Opera House sits. The free instillation continues the tradition of Bennelong Point being a “tubowgule” or meeting place for storytelling. Each year the opera house commissions a new program that includes the projection and the musical accompaniment. The commission is international but the themes have to be based on Australian Aboriginal art and music. This year there are two different “chapters”, each a collaboration between 5 different Australian Aboriginal artists. Each is 7 minutes long. Each run twice a night.
This year both Suzi and I felt that the projections were more animated than in 2018, flowing and better coordinated with the music.
We stayed for both projections. For the 23 minutes between them we ducked into the lobby bar. After the final performance we went in to use the loo. The security guard told us we needed to hurry because “the interval is very soon.” On my way out of the men’s room, I had just grabbed the door handle when I heard someone humming the “Toreadors Song.” The door swung in and slammed into me. Without apology the guy rushed to a urinal. I guess the opera must have been “Carmen.”