Late in 2019, Creative Victoria funded the creative development and production of BUKJEH in the City of Whittlesea. This was to be a community engagement project between local community and Bukjeh artists. When COVID dramatically changed the live performance landscape, the project innovatively adapted to the digital environment.
Bukjeh moved online and asked the question, “what if, instead of being told to stay at home, you were forced to leave your home?”
Artist-led workshops were delivered on zoom, forums were hosted on Facebook Live and artists responded to the provocation with collaborations developed over a distance under lockdown.
City of Whittlesea Commissions
The City of Whittlesea commissioned Bukjeh artists to prepare a creative response to their experiences of lockdown.
These works were written and produced in the middle of Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdowns; a beautiful time capsule. Find out more on bukjeh.com.au.
Prior to the lockdowns, one of the first activities for the project was to engage Bukjeh artists to hold workshops in local schools, including Thomastown Primary, St. Clare Primary in Officer and Northern College, Bundoora. Discover more on bukjeh.com.au.
Aseel Tayah interviewed community members from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, who shared their stories. These stories were variously beautiful, shocking, very happy and very sad.
Aseel and fellow Bukjeh artist, Meena Shamaly, used these interviews as inspiration to form a soundscape which tries to capture the complexity of narrative and emotion from these interactions. More on bukjeh.com.au.
The project was brought to completion after a long and incredible journey through lockdowns, online developments, new innovations and fresh opportunities with the live performance outcomes of Bukjeh in the City of Whittlesea, as COVID restrictions eased and allowed for public events.
The live performances were attended by hundreds of community members at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, South Morang.
Explore Bukjeh in the City of Whittlesea
Explore the poetry, soundscapes, recaps, extended interviews and much more of Bukjeh in the City of Whittlesea in our online experience, produced by the City of Whittlesea, below: