Joel Bray <em>Storage Unit </em>(production still), 2023

Joel Bray

Joel Bray

Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square
Ground Level

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Joel Bray Storage Unit (production still), 2023

Joel Bray
(Wiradjuri, b. 1980, Sydney, New South Wales. Lives and works in Melbourne/Naarm)

Joel Bray’s performance-making practice is grounded in his Wiradjuri heritage, and in his research into Wiradjuri Country and ritual on the one hand, and sex, sexuality and Queerness on the other. His works are embodied, celebrate the complications and complexities of contemporary Indigeneity, and disrupt White audiences’ expectations of Bla(c)k performance. His live performances are often intimate encounters in unorthodox spaces, in which audience members are frequently invited to participate as ‘co-ritual-makers’. 

In Storage unit, specially commissioned by the NGV for Melbourne Now, Bray and his co-conspirator rummage through the remnants of his dance works from the past six years. Props, sets and costumes jumble together with archival footage and sound, emptied from Joel’s storage unit and spilling out into the gallery space. Dancing bodies teeter, toss and tumble amid the chaos, recalling and misremembering choreography and monologue from the past in a joyous ‘anti-retrospective’. Over four unique performances (Storage units 1, 2, 3 and 4) and marked by Bray’s trademark humour and sex positivity, visitors find themselves among the chaos, lending helping hands and collectively making sense of it all. 

Bray trained at NAISDA and WAAPA and has performed with leading European and Israeli dance companies and choreographers, including Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor and Roy Assaf. In 2015, he returned to Australia to work with Melbourne’s Chunky Move. Bray’s award-winning performances Biladurang, Daddy and Considerable sexual license have been presented across Australia and abroad. His multi-channel video work Giraru galing ganhagirri / The wind will bring the rain toured Australia as a part of the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition Ceremony.

Storage Unit appeared in Community Hall on 6 May – 10 Jun 2023.