Fani Parali’s monumental performance installation AONYX and DREPAN at Southwark Park Galleries, 10 October – 15 December 2020, was developed in direct response to the soaring scale of Dilston Gallery – a raw, deconsecrated space.

The gallery is transformed into an otherworld; a host site, a portal, in which her creatures inhabit, transmit, flex and sing. Here, spectral bodies become mediated vessels, lipsynching pre-recorded emissions; tethered voices demanding to be heard.

‘AONYX is inspired by the Harpy Eagle, a raptor with giant claws and a trusting manner. The Harpy in the Lake Gallery is also based on my interpretation of this creature, made into a new, hybrid form of my own making. DREPAN is based on the short-clawed otter, with amphibian qualities, singing from within the water and from close to the ground, in contrast to AONYX’s flight views. Together, they are the lungs of Dilston Gallery, singing closely and together.’ – Fani Parali, 2020

Parali’s collaborative live practice is focused on the formulation of identity beyond the body’s limited presence; creating theatrical encounters in which sound and form are choreographed to create immersive and intimate scenes of habitation, directed movement and ethereal soundscapes.

These creature-characters have evolved throughout Parali’s recent work, their ghostly limbs are extended and morphed by life-cast costumes, which restrict and accentuate the performers’ movements and spatial presence. Our interaction with these hybrid creatures unfolds as their song resonates; their identities tessellating and shifting for the duration as part-human, part-spirit, part-building, part-animal.

Fani Parali, ‘AONYX and DREPAN’, 2020.

Performers: Rachel Porter, Sophie Brain
Voices: Amina Abbas-Nazari, Elliot Lewis
Structural design, choreography, lyrics, costume: Fani Parali
Fabrication: Michalis Kokkoliadis, Basement 94
Video: Mischa Haller

AONYX and DREPAN & THE MINDERS OF THE WARM was made possible with thanks to the generous support of Ada’s Circle (Marcelle Joseph, Reine Okuliar, Sarah Pickstone and Eliza Bonham Carter), The Paul & Louise Cooke Endowment, Arts Council England, The Henry Moore Foundation and Southwark Council.