Pillowtalk: Amrita Hepi

On a hazy summer’s morning, we crept into the coolness of an inner city garden. While people scurried around us on footpaths leading to their desks and cubicles, we created a quiet space off to the side with Amrita Hepi, a space for considering and expressing the quality of morning time. Amrita is a Bundjulung and Ngapuhi woman, dancer and dance maker, writer and activist. Employing her unique, considered, and passionate perspective on the world around her, we collaborated together to create a special SUKU shoot. Here, Amrita shares with us her ideas about dance, dreams, and the power of re-interpreting the past so as to make a better future.

The movements used in your dance express different paces that occur at the start of the day - what do you think is unique about the morning?
They're all unique; but the ones that are really memorable are: when things are still and I am alone and productive, or when I haven't slept the night before out of hedonism or heartbreak, or when I get to have a lie in and be intimate with the person/people that I love.

What is a ‘dream’ to you?
A reflection and necessity.

What’s something you wish people could see differently?
Their "good intentions" - check your good intentions, see them deeply and authentically and see who they really 'serve'; because it has been said that "good intentions paved the path to hell".
Their privilege. That it’s not something that is being attacked but something that can be used to tip the scales to kindness and the lending of generating power collectively.
Their apathy - I wish that people could see that the oppressed (and I know that is a broad term) are not trying to be difficult, but that they are trying to survive. 

Has the way you’ve approached dance evolved or transformed over the years?
Incredibly. It has been a way of understanding myself, others and the world - and my god those things have changed since I was 4! My dance and practice is constantly evolving and getting stronger - but what it has done is made me sure of what I do want - transparency, strength, investigating transitional spaces and movement, and it has weeded out that of which I don't - apathy, and a notion to "please" or be seen as complacent. Shit ain’t easy - so I have to be thorough and respectful while maintaining the undercurrent of urgency that exists in everything I do. I am trying to approach things more and more with the idea of a soft grace, radical tenderness - and as cheesy as it may sound, with love.

Do you think dance can bring a new perspective to a social issue or event?Movement is always there; and dance just reminds us of the immediacy and potential in our physical existence/presence.If you wanna see the evidence of what this can bring - or need a new perspective,  go out and go dancing. OR create your own ultimate dance party solo with gr8 lighting and your perfect playlist. OR google Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey and see the workings of a political body.

Sleep ins or early starts?
Both! whatever it takes to get what you need.

Amrita's SUKU pick, Zen Ripple Pyjama
Photography // Maxine Dabrowski and Bianka Basic
Words // Maxine Dabrowski