Homer’s ancient war poem The Iliad reverberates in today’s world of unrelenting armed conflict.
A Ukrainian soldier trains to defend his country. A choir sings in a Sarajevo theatre once used to stage defiant performances during the Bosnian War. Youths gather at the tomb of Homer on the island of Ios in the Mediterranean, through which asylum seekers make their treacherous journeys. Three performances reframe the opening lines of Homer’s epic tale of rage, where victory intertwines with grief and loss.
The Iliad, one of the earliest and most significant texts in Western literature, is set nine years into the Trojan war, and describes how the Greek warrior Achilles refuses to join the battle, due to his wrath at a slight by fellow Greek warrior Agamemnon. Achilles relents only when his closest friend is killed. Stanislava Pinchuk sets her work nine years into the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. She weaves together three charged performances which draw on the oral and folk traditions from which The Iliad evolved. Just as the poem contains many gruesome descriptions of death on the battlefield, so do these performers focus our attention on both the lifeforce and vulnerability of bodies in contemporary ‘theatres of war’.
Stanislava Pinchuk is the 2019 recipient of the Mordant Family Moving Image Commission for Young Australian Artists.
The Mordant Family Moving Image Commission for Young Australian Artists is created in partnership with Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO and Catriona Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne, John Allsopp from Web Directions, and ACMI.
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