three hundred and forty six

Amrita Hepi, Kensington, Victoria

Images by Tasha Tylee

Amrita Hepi is an award-winning First Nations choreographer and dancer from the Bundjulung (Australia) and Ngāpuhi (New Zealand) territories. As an artist (and proud Virgo!), Amrita’s work explores the barriers of intersectionality in form and has seen her collaborate with some of Australia’s foremost cultural institutions. Amrita invited IN BED into her home in Melbourne’s north west to talk about some of the special things she surrounds herself with, some of her favourite projects of which there are many and her new found love for free-diving.

“I've lived in this place since October (it’s still fresh-ish). I love the length of the house and being able to cook and have chat at the same time. I also love lighting a fire in the living room and my most excellent flatmate Emma’s considerate touch around the place.”

Linen duvet, sheets, pillowcases and sleepwear by IN BED

Amrita’s bed is dressed in an IN BED 100% linen duvet cover and pillowslips in mist, a fitted sheet in lake, a flat sheet in peach and extra pillowslips in white. Amrita wears IN BED 100% linen sleepwear in lake.

“My bedroom is... dark, with lots of books and too many clothes. I like to read, sleep, dream and have it be a place of supreme unproductivity.”

“The photo of my sister and I above my bed is particularly special, as well as the armadillo milk, and ceramics from Mexico City that I got on my 30th birthday. There’s also a photo of the Pina Bausch company Tanztheater Wuppertal by William Yang in the lounge that holds pride of place in my home and heart.”

[In my neighbourhood] I love the Women’s Peace Garden at the end of my street and running along the Maribyong River. I like the fact that Kensignton feels almost like a small town, that I know the grocer and wine seller by name and that I’m in close proximity to Laksa King… the best Laksa in Melbourne.”

“I’m an artist who works in dance and choreography. I studied dance from an early age at my local dance school then at NAISDA before going on to Alvin Ailey in New York. I’ve worked as a dancer for different dance companies (including Marrugeku and Force Majeure) and independent choreographers. I also make work as a choreographer with other dancers and performers. Sometimes the outcome is shown within a theatre context, other times it could be in film, within a public space or a gallery context”

I’m an artist who works in dance and choreography. I studied dance from an early age at my local dance school then at NAISDA before going on to Alvin Ailey in New York.

“I also work a lot with objects and set design that inherently become another performer and help inform my choreography; for example I’ve worked with a lot of inflatable objects and also physically designed the dance floors. At present I would say the majority of my work is commissions for galleries or institutions. I’m working on a performance around monumentalism for Gertrude Contemporary in February, programming a socratic questioning chatbot for ACCA (that aims to answer the question How does it feel?) and has choreographic prompts as well as a text bot for another gallery that looks at the interconnections between love and doom.”

On the wall is a beautiful print by Isabella Melody Moore that was gifted to Amrita by the artist.

“Each time I create a piece it’s different. Usually it starts with research and then in some way this will be realised physically through the body, or, the body in relation to an object or text. There are recurring themes though, including the “itness” of a thing, violence, magpies, magic, touch, doom, spectacle, the idea of “make-believe” and the uncanny.”

Each time I create a piece it’s different. Usually it starts with research and then in some way this will be realised physically through the body, or, the body in relation to an object or text.

“In February I worked with Sibling architecture for a show at the Immigration Museum where we constructed a dance floor and I got to program a suite of performances by dancers that I really admire. It was an incredibly collaborative and fun project. The floor we designed will now be the floor in my studio at Gertrude contemporary.”

“Just before lock down I made a solo work called Rinse which was a part of the Keir Choreographic award at Carriageworks and Dance House which was about the idolisation of beginnings. It was my first time choreographing a solo on myself and working with remembering a script. I’m really looking forward to working on this piece again and extending it in the future.”

Amrita wears IN BED 100% linen sleepwear in lake and a robe in kohl.

[In the future] I’m tossing up going back to uni to do economics or political economics. I’m also wanting to work on making spaces where there can be shared peer to peer learning that isn’t linked to an institution and isn't necessarily about art per se. Where the skills you know (or want to know) can be learnt in a shared way. It’s early days but I guess you could say I am interested in continued learning outside of art.”

I’m also wanting to work on making spaces where there can be shared peer to peer learning that isn’t linked to an institution and isn't necessarily about art per se.

“Outside of the studio I’m very into free-diving after going to Mexico and Italy last year and starting to dive in the Ocean and Cenotes. I’d also like to get better at spear fishing and I’ve just started psychoanalysis over the last 12-months which has become an area of interest. Right now I’m itching to get back into the studio with other dancers and other bodies as the overlap between the digital world and the physical one are starting to do my head in!”

Linen duvet, sheets, pillowcases and sleepwear by IN BED

Amrita’s bed is dressed in an IN BED 100% linen duvet cover and pillowslips in mist, a fitted sheet in lake, a flat sheet in peach and extra pillowslips in white. Amrita wears IN BED 100% linen sleepwear in lake.

@amrita_moves
www.amritahepi.com