Arts and Culture

An exploration of cultural roots returns for Fringe

Posted on: Wed 15 Feb 2023

The redevelopment of a ritual performance is set to share a personal story of the Ukrainian diaspora and cultural identity; a story about ancestral roots and new roots in foreign lands.

Ukrainian-Canadian artist, Olenka Toroshenko, says her one-woman Adelaide Fringe performance, i am root, “is the universal story of what it is to leave home – to leave a culture behind and try to come to know the culture you are entering – and also preserve and cultivate that which you are.”

Told through a prism of her own roots; her current residence in Australia, Canadian birthplace and Ukrainian motherland, the performance intersects many disciplines in “an ode to death and life and Vegemite.”

More topical than ever intended, i am root’s debut uncannily met with audiences for Fringe 2022, days after Russia’s invasion of the artist’s ancestral home, bringing even greater potency to the relevance of its themes.

Following a creative residency with Brand X and The Mill mid-last year, the performance-piece is said to offer both refinement and additional music, movement and clowning in its second iteration.

Olenka joined Festival City’s Emma Wotzke to discuss the creative redevelopment processes, ideas of cultural identity in a globalised world, the importance of cultural preservation and personal reflections while her ancestral homeland remains under threat.

Produced by Emma Wotzke

Image by Daniel Marks

Festival City

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