Leah Barclay | ZAMEEN (2013)
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ZAMEEN (2013)

ZAMEEN is the first major performance from The DAM(N) Project, a large-scale interdisciplinary art venture that connects Australian and Indian communities around the common concern of global water security. ZAMEEN presents the lives of remote communities in the Narmada Valley of North India, displaced by large-scale dam development securing hydropower for Indian cities. This holistic project integrates innovative technology, diverse community perspectives and true stories of resilience to create an immersive performance combining projections, choreography and multi-channel soundscapes.

This performance draws on material from our first creative development journey into the Narmada Valley of North India, capturing visual footage and field recordings in the affected landscapes working directly with remote communities. The source material is predominately from the regional area of Jobat, where we collected stories and solidarity songs from over 20 displaced groups who had gathered at a satyagraha (non-violent protest).

Each movement of the work draws from our experiences onsite, ranging from abstract explorations of the powerful Narmada River to the songs of hope from the children. Ultimately, the DAM(N) project is designed to connect global communities around the common concern of global water security and reveal the ramifications of damming rivers that hold cultural and spiritual significance for indigenous communities world-wide.

The process of creating ZAMEEN highlights the validity of community engagement, social activism and digital technology in environmentally engaged interdisciplinary art practice. While the initial stage is focused on the relationship between Australian and India, the long-term vision for The DAM(N) Project expands into other communities and cultures worldwide.

ZAMEEN has been conceived and developed by Sydney-based producer Jehan Kanga, Queensland based composer Leah Barclay, and S. Shakthidharan, the director of CuriousWorks in Sydney. ZAMEEN features live performances from Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi, from Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts, India’s leading contemporary dance company.

Visit www.thedamnproject.com for touring information. 



Listen to Narmada Prelude by Leah Barclay – a site-specific opening that evolves with each performance of ZAMEEN.



Created by Jehan Kanga, Leah Barclay & S.Shakthidhran
Featuring Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi

Directed by S.Shakthidharan
Visuals by S.Shakthidharan
Music and Sound Design by Leah Barclay
Choreography by Ronita Mookerji, Sylvester Mardi & Meghna Nambiar from Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts
Produced by Jehan Kanga


As its Director, S. Shakthidharan has led CuriousWorks to deliver a series of creative initiatives that have had sustainable and innovative outcomes for all Australians. His first initiative The Migrant Project brought together 40 Sydneysiders with cultural and artistic ancestries from across the globe. All of his work has focused on respectful collaboration with some of Australia’s most marginalised communities and the ongoing sharing of contemporary, untold, Australian stories through traditional and digital distribution methods.


Leah Barclay is an Australian composer, sound artist and curator working internationally. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and has directed and curated intercultural projects across Australia, India and Korea. She is passionate about the role interdisciplinary art can play in community empowerment, social activism and cultural change.


Jehan Kanga is an interdisciplinary creative producer, multi-instrumentalist and published researcher in materials chemistry undertaking a PhD. His scientific research comes from his interest in the intersection between science and art, and the relationship those fields have with major social and environmental movements around the world.

Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi)

Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts is a one of its kind organisation in India creating a context for the development of contemporary cultural expressions, particularly the performance arts, by facilitating new expressions in dance and digital arts and spearheading pioneering projects internationally. Ronita Mookerji and Sylvester Mardi are dancers with the company who were selected to participate in The DAM(N) Project and tour internationally with ZAMEEN.