The DAM(N) Project is a large-scale interdisciplinary arts project that connects Australian and Indian communities around the common concern of global water security. The project was conceived and developed by Sydney based producer Jehan Kanga, composer Leah Barclay and Shakthi Sivanathan, the director of Curious Works. The project presents the lives of remote communities in the Narmada Valley of North India, displaced by large-scale dam development securing hydropower for Indian cities. 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 project uses the many viewpoints and the living culture in the affected areas as building blocks for the creative process. Numerous outcomes will develop over 2013-2015 including a series of site-specific installations, photographic exhibitions and a touring production in collaboration with Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, the leading contemporary dance company based in India. Whilst many aspects of the project are politically sensitive, we intend to tell the diverse stories of those people who were displaced, and allow the viewer to reflect and judge for themselves on what kind of development we want in the future.
Water scarcity is a significant issue for both Australia and India and the issue of controlling and managing hydrological systems is extremely politicised in both countries due to the cultural and economic significance of these systems. We wish to contrast the strikingly similar experiences in Australia and India around water management and showcase the value of digital technology and creative collaborations as a framework to inspire change, activism and ultimately a future where these communities will have a voice. The artistic outcomes are all underpinned by the idea that innovative art is both a tool for community empowerment and cultural change.
The first major outcome from The DAM(N) Project will tour Australia in 2013, premiering at the ENCOUNTERS: India Festival in May 2013 in Brisbane, Queensland. Further information is available on the projects website – www.thedamnproject.com
Listen to a preview of the Narmada Prelude composed by Leah Barclay
Watch a preview of The DAM(N) Project documentary