Mel O’Callaghan b. 1975 Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Sydney and Paris.

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︎︎︎ Cassandra Bird Gallery


Cassandra Bird Gallery, Sydney
opens 3 Feb, 2024


All is Life, 2022, two-channel HD colour video, 32:9, 6.1 surround sound, 18 minutes 30 seconds

Photo: Zan Wimberley


24 JUN - 21 AUG, 2022

Curated by Aarna Fitzgerald Hanley

Mel O’Callaghan travelled to Ambaulim in Goa, India during January 2022, invited by the Velip community of Gaonkarwada to witness the eco-feminist festival Dhalo. In an act that preserves both culture and nature, Dhalo plays out upon a maand — a central and sacred space made from earth. By call and response, the women and children perform ritual storytelling through song and dance, in celebration of their ongoing connection to nature.

The video portrait All is Life (2022) was produced in close collaboration with the women and children of Gaonkarwada, Ambaulim and Velip rights advocate and journalist Devidas Gaonkar. The work is accompanied by a series of interviews with Devidas Gaonkar, Goan environmentalist Rajendra Kerkar, Goan folklorist Pournima Kerkar and the women of Gaonkarwada, recorded during O’Callaghan’s trip to India.

Film credits
Cinematography: Mel O’Callaghan, Devidas Gaonkar & Lisa Myeong-Joo
Sound recording: Zeeshan Sharif
Composer: Nick Wales
Production: Mel O’Callaghan, Devidas Gaonkar, Lisa Myeong-Joo, Zeeshan Sharif & Clemens Habicht
Post-production: Collider
Colourist: Andrew van der Westhuyzen, Collider
Sound Engineer: Daniel Denholm

Women and children of Gaonkarwada: Amit Gaonkar, Anandi Gaonkar, Bharti Gaonkar, Champawati Gaonkar, Chandrawati Gaonkar, Disha Gaonkar, Jayavati Gaonkar, Jothi Gaonkar, Kamlavati Gaonkar, Karishma Gaonkar, Kavita Gaonkar, Krutika Gaonkar, Kushauati Gaonkar, Mangal Gaonkar, Mayavati Gaonkar, Mayawati Gaonkar, Muktabaie Gaonkar, Natasha Gaonkar, Nayan Gaonkar, Nilawati Gaonkar, Nirmala Gaonkar, Prachi Gaonkar, Rasikawati Gaonkar, Ravina Gaonkar, Rukmini Gaonkar, Shailavati Gaonkar, Shambu Gaonkar, Shashikala Gaonkar, Siddesh Gaonkar, Subhangi Gaonkar, Susmita Gaonkar, Swarti Gaonkar, Tulzawati Gaonkar, Vimal Gaonkar, Visanti Gaonkar, Yoshoda Gaonkar, Sonakshi Kakodkar, Suwati Shelpekar, Deepali Shirodkar, Geetika Shirodkar.

Development, research and translation: Subhada Chari, Dakshata Gaonkar, Devidas Gaonkar, Disha Gaonkar, Geetika Gaonkar, Krutika Gaonkar, Mayavati Gaonkar, Prachi Gaonkar, Ramita Gaonkar, Ravina Gaonkar, Shambu Gaonkar, Siddesh Gaonkar, Sofiya Gaonkar, Sonakshi Gaonkar, Swati Gaonkar, Tulzawati Gaonkar, Yeshoda Gaonkar, Andreja Fernandes, Inacina Fernandes, Advocate Joao Fernandes, Lourencina Fernandes, Pournima Kerkar, Rajendra Kerkar, Samruddhi Kerkar, Lisa Myeong-Joo, Sneha Gawas Parodkar, Zeeshan Sharif.

Project Director: Daniel Mudie Cunningham
Exhibition Manager: Glenn Thompson

This project is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.