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Film, Exhibition

Laka is a 45 minute film and a 360° exhibition of video, sound and virtual reality that immerses audiences in Hindu and Yolngu ways of seeing the world.

Laka is a CuriousWorks production. It appears on this site as Laka is part of the Kurinji story universe. 


Laka is a cross-cultural love story that starts with a first kiss in the suburbs of Sydney and ends with a bush birth in the Arnhem land wilderness.

For too many years, Lily, a Yolngu woman from the Northern Territory, has suppressed her yearning to go home. Now heavily pregnant, visions of her ancestral land have taken over her waking life. Lily believes it’s her unborn child calling out to her, entreating her to listen and be born on country.

Lily’s husband Siddhartha, a Sri Lankan Australian, is unwilling to disrupt their stable life in Sydney, forcing Lily to choose between her land and her love. She chooses her land.

One night Lily leaves Siddhartha, and begins the long drive back home to Arnhem Land…


The Laka exhibition is a 360° exhibition of video, sound and virtual reality that immerses audiences in Hindu and Yolngu ways of seeing the world. It explores the cycle of creation and destruction in the universe, the overlapping of past, present and future, and ancient cultural and geographic connections that existed between South Asia and Australia. It is narratively connected to the feature film but also a stand alone experience.


Laka had a preview season at the 2018 Baiame’s Ngunnhu Festival in Brewarrina, and premiered at Casula Powerhouse in Sydney in July. Since then it has toured to Asinabka Festival, Ottawa (Canada); VoxPop Festival, Ontario (Canada); Deckchair Cinema, Darwin; Chicago South Asian Film Festival, RedNation Film Festival, Los Angeles; Winda Film Festival, Sydney; and The Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Cairns.


This story features the characters Lily, Siddhartha, Yumalil, Aali, Radha and Laka.


A CuriousWorks production

Feature Film and Audiovisual Installation Credits:
S. Shakthidharan, Rosealee Pearson, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs (Writers), S. Shakthidharan (Director), Rosealee Pearson, Nicholas Brown (Lead Actors), Vanessa Hyde, S. Shakthidharan (Producers), Guido Gonzalez (Director of Photography), Aimée Falzon (Production Designer), Elias Nohra (Editor), Leah Barclay (Composer & Sound Designer), Colour (Final Post), S. Shakthidharan, Leah Barclay (Executive Producers). Key Crew: Dani Sitto, Adam McPhilbin, Shawn Spina. Other Crew: Samia Halabi, Bianca Cruise, Andrea Beeten, Sean Ly, Natalia Figueroa, Rudge Hollis, Roxie Vuong, Lucy Mendelssohn, Cristobal Olguin Hernandez, Wendy Pham.

Feature Film – additional key credits:
Brad Steadman (Additional Writer), Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, Shandi Lirrina Mununggurr, Brad Steadman (Supporting Actors), Lily Shearer, Brad Steadman (Cultural Advisors), Typography Design (Bo Tam), Typography Animation (Lloyd Ladera).

Installation – additional key credits:
S. Shakthidharan, Anandavalli, Rosealee Pearson and Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr- Stubbs (Cultural Concepts), S. Shakthidharan, Elias Nohra (Design Concept), Anandavalli, Sachin Joab, Shabnam Tavakol, Shania Cubillo, Stephen Williams (Supporting Actors).

Virtual Reality Artworks Credits:
Aruna Parthiban, Anandavalli, S. Shakthidharan, Rosealee Pearson and Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs (Cultural Concepts), S. Shakthidharan, Greg Ferris, Leah Barclay (VR Concepts), S. Shakthidharan (Director), Greg Ferris (Director of Photography – Hindu), S. Shakthidharan (Director of Photography – Yolngu), Greg Ferris (3D Design and VR Post-Production), Vanessa Hyde, S. Shakthidharan (Producers), Leah Barclay (Composer & Sound Designer), Anandavalli (Choreography- Hindu) Rosealee Pearson (Choreography- Yolngu), Aruna Parthiban, Asha Mistry, Shalini Parthiban, Gharshani Ganeshanantham, Murali S Venkatraman, Anandavalli (Lead Talent – Hindu), Rosealee Pearson, Rena Bishop, Lak Lak Burarrwanga, Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr- Stubbs (Lead Talent – Yolngu).
Produced by CuriousWorks, with the support of Australia Council for the Arts, Create NSW, the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund and the Nelson Meers Foundation. The sound research and audio production for Laka was supported by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith University. The VR component was developed with assistance from Create NSW and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


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