Amrita Hepi is a First Nations artist, dancer and choreographer who is fascinated by dance and how we use movement to share social connections. A Call to Echo is the first exhibition for SAM Kids, a dedicated learning and engagement program for children and the young at heart encouraging shared and interactive experiences of art.
Amrita has created a dynamic installation within the Children’s Gallery to enter and encounter the video work A Call to Echo (2021). Amrita is captured in varied acrobatic poses flying across a bright blue wall, above a sea of vibrant blue and orange curtains. In the video Amrita has edited together short cuts of videos featuring people and animals dancing sampled from social media, dance history and her own previous artworks. Amrita’s voiceover tells us, ‘Dancing is like an echo, everything has a dance or a choreography.’ She tells us stories of why she loves to dance and encourages us to think about the ways we encounter dancing in unexpected places everyday.
Through a series of call and response choreography Amrita invites us to follow her prompts to dance in the gallery: we can copy movements of other people, dance like animals and nature, or move our bodies in any way the music inspires us to. How do you move your body when you are alone, with friends and family, or when you are in a crowd?
Amrita Hepi (b. 1989, Townsville of Bundjulung/Ngapuhi territories; lives and works Naarm/Melbourne) is an award winning artist. Her current practice is concerned with dance as social function performed within galleries, performance spaces, video art and digital technologies. She engages in forms of historical fiction and hybridity — especially those that arise under empire — to investigate the bodies relationship to personal histories and archive. Amrita is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery.
In 2020/2018, she was the recipient of the People’s Choice Award for the Keir Choreographic Award for RINSE and won FBI Radio’s BEST ARTIST. In 2020/2021 she was commissioned to make work by Kaldor public art projects, Serpentine Galleries UK, South East Dance Brighton UK, ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), Gertrude Contemporary, and Art Gallery of NSW. She is a Gertrude Contemporary studio artist in residence (2020 – 2022) and is on the Board of Directors for RISING festival and Lucy Guerin Inc. She is also a lecturer in Dance and Visual Art (sculpture/performance) at the Victorian College of Art.
Curator: Jessica O’Farrell, Exhibitions Curator
Location: Children's Gallery
Portrait: Amrita Hepi, courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, Photo: Nik To