The Sun and The Moon photo by James Henry
BOOMA photo by James Henry.
Bayini photo by James Henry.
The Sun and The Moon photo by James Henry.
Axel Gee photo by James Henry
Blak LAB 2020 artists, partners & team. Photo Ben Swinnerton.
Bayini photo by James Henry
BOOMA photo by James Henry.

Blak LAB 2020 - REPORT


APAM’s first artist lab, taking place alongside the APAM Gathering at Asia TOPA, Blak LAB was an important investment in artists and the creative development of their ideas through artist-to-artist collaborations between First Nations people from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific.

Watch the highlights video and read the report via these links, and scroll down for further details and videos of the four projects.


The aim of Blak LAB was to seed developments and future commissions for contemporary First Nations performance.  Curated by APAM’s First Nations Advisory Group, and facilitated by two senior First Nations artists – Kamarra Bell-Wykes (VIC) and Raymond Blanco (QLD) – Blak LAB is part of a growing and celebrated movement of international First Nations-led creative incubators.

Blak LAB was presented by APAM, in partnership with First Nations Lead, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, and Arts Centre Melbourne, and in association with Abbotsford Convent Foundation. With thanks to the outreach program of Pacific Dance NZ.

Blak LAB videos by Goodworthy.



Created and performed by: Miku Performing Arts, Sang Mei-Chuan (Paiwan tribe – Taiwan) and Labaga Taru (Truku tribe – Taiwan)
Miku Performing Arts: Rachael Wallis (Artistic Director), David Banula Marika, Ngalkanbuy Cameron Munungurr, Loretta Gandhurrminy Yunupingu.
Traditional Paiwanese dancers and teachers: Ljavaus Chen & Aulu Tjibulangan

Bayini is a dance and live music work exploring a Yolgnu story about the first visitors to Arnhem Land, Austranesian peoples, who travelled in boats to trade with Yolgnu. The stories of this trade are sung and danced to this day. The new work explores Bayini as the common ancestor of both Taiwanese and Australian First Peoples.


Lead artist: Thomas E.S. Kelly – Choreographer – Karul Projects
Collaborating artist: Tupe Lualua – Choreographer – Le Moana Dance Company (Samoa via Aotearoa)

BOOMA is conceived as a physical theatre piece for 14 performers exploring the booma (stomp) as expression of connection and relationship.


Lead artist: Axel Gee (independent artist – Melbourne, VIC)

Axel conducted solo research into a new large-scale interactive performance – Cycles of a Seedling (previously entitled Healing Beyond Identity). It is inspired by the stages of Axel’s meditation journey over several years.



Moon choreography: Gary Lang, NT Dance Company
Sun choreography: Aulu Tjibulangan (Paiwan tribe – Taiwan)
Dancers: Aulu Tjibulangan, Glenn Thomas, Kiara Malcolm

The Sun and The Moon is a dance piece that brings together Aulu’s
sun totem and Gary’s moon totem, exploring the cultures of the Paiwanese people of Taiwan and the Larrakia and Yolngu people of the Northern Territory.