Leah Barclay | The DAM(N) Project, Narmada River, North India
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The DAM(N) Project, Narmada River, North India

The DAM(N) Project, Narmada River, North India

The DAM(N) Project is an interdisciplinary project exploring the stories of the displaced people of the Narmada River in North India, Leah Barclay is the composer / sound artist for this project which will result in a major production touring Australia and India in 2012.

The construction of large dams on the River Narmada in India and its impact on millions of people living in the river valley has become one of the most important social issues in contemporary India. The Narmada Dams Project is the biggest of its kind in the world  and whilst proponents of the dams believe it will provide water security to 30 million people and provide 1.45 GW of power, the dams will internally displace up to half a million people. Global coalitions of environmental and human rights activist groups  condemn the project for several reasons including corrupt and iniquitous cost benefit analyses and destruction of arable land. Over the past 25 years, the controversy has come to symbolise the struggle for a just and equitable society in India.

Inevitably the issues around the Narmada are heavily politicised however The DAM(N) Project does not seek to revisit this approach. Rather, we intend to use the many viewpoints and the living culture in the affected areas as building blocks for the creative process. The central idea within DAM(N) is the nature and mythology of water, it’s creative as well as destructive powers and our relationship to this vital source of life in the context of India and Australia.

The project involves producer Jehan Kanga, sound artist/composer Leah Barclay, multimedia/visual artist Shakthi Sivanathan (Director of CuriousWorks), singers from the Song Company, dancers from Bangalore based contemporary dance company Attakkalari and a carnatic percussionist from Kerala. The production will also involve local Indian communities (in Australia) through workshops and as part of the stage production. The team are currently in creative development and will complete research and interviews onsite in December 2011 funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.