Bringing music and movement home

14 August 2022

A Yawuru woman from Broome, Tara Gower has had a rich and varied career in the cultural sector nationally and internationally and she brings it home in a new role based in the Kimberley.

It’s an exciting time for Tara Gower as she takes up a position with innovative not-for-profit Tura New Music, while also being announced as a recipient in the 2022 Minderoo Foundation Artist Fund, as she tells Craig McKeough.

Craig McKeough: With your wide and varied background in the cultural industries, is the Tura role the perfect job for you?

Tara Gower: I’m really excited to take on this new role as it allows me to not only expand my knowledge of creative industries whilst being based in my hometown of Broome, but also link regional Kimberley residents to extraordinary intercultural music and sound art experiences.

CM: How did you first become involved with Tura?

TG: In 2020 and 2021 I worked with (dance organisation) Marrugeku who collaborated with Tura on a tour called Sonus which travelled throughout the Kimberley. This was a highlight, as I had the opportunity to dance alongside my cousin Dalisa Pigram to my Uncle Stephen Pigram’s music.

CM: To be able to do this work while based in your own home country must be doubly satisfying?

TG: It is a dream come true to be able to have such an innovative role that allows me to be close to my family and finally enjoy being based at home. After travelling for so many years on tour with Bangarra Dance Theatre, this a great opportunity to continue to reconnect with my community through creative means.

CM: What will the role involve?

TG: This new role is titled regional producer and I will be building on the great work that Tura has been doing over the past 20 years in northern Australia including residency and touring programs. I will be working on the ground closely with community and helping the success of various exciting, innovative music and sound art projects that promote wellbeing and healing through sound.

CM: You’re based in the Kimberley but does your remit cover a wider area of regional WA?

TG: Tura has four major projects happening across the Kimberley over the next 12 months so that will be my focus for the first year of the position which has been funded by the WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. Tura also has a major collaboration with Martumili Artists in the Pilbara which I will become involved with in the future.

Tara Gower works with children at a school in Beagle Bay, near Broome. Photo: supplied

CM: You have had a professional dance career over many years with Bangarra Dance Theatre and now run a dance collective Burrb Wanggarraju Nurlu. How will your background feed into the Tura role where the focus is on music and sound?

TG: My experience working with Bangarra and more recently developing my own dance collective for emerging dance and music artists will come into my new role in terms of networking and using my knowledge of being a Kimberley woman. Ways of communicating and following certain protocols are vital when liaising with Aboriginal people. I will be an important link, which will allow Tura to continue to produce amazing programs. I will also be contributing creatively by teaching contemporary indigenous dance workshops. 

CM: I understand you’re already working on Tura’s next project which starts this month — the Sound FX program in the Fitzroy Valley. Can you tell us a bit about this?

TG: Sound FX is a Tura program that facilitates the creation of new music and sound art through long-term collaborations with the Fitzroy Valley community and education partners. I’m excited to travel to Fitzroy this month to start working with WA and interstate artists. This will involve Baya Gawiy Children and Family Centre, Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and Fitzroy Valley District High School.

CM: What other projects are in the works for regional communities?

TG: There is also a project in Warmun and Kununurra later in the year that will be coming to fruition next year – don’t want to give too much away too soon!

CM: You have also recently been named as one of the Minderoo Foundation 2022 Artist Fund Cohort. How will you use the opportunity this provides?

TG: I will be using the support from the Minderoo Foundation to continue my dance for health and wellbeing program that provides a professional platform for emerging dance music artists in Broome to rekindle culture. Collaborating with Elders and youth, I create community performances that reflect the next generation and provide a creative outlet that empowers our leaders of tomorrow.

Learn more about Tura New Music and the Sound FX project

Pictured top: Tara Gower brings her wide experience in dance and the cultural industries to a new role in Broome. Photo supplied

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Author —
Craig McKeough

Craig McKeough is a writer and visual artist, with a lifetime’s experience in journalism, covering everything from the arts to horse racing, politics and agriculture. Craig has always been drawn to the swing; an egalitarian, grounding piece of equipment where you can go as high and wild as you want, but you’ll always return to where you started.

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