Soothsayer Serenades

Amrita Hepi

Amrita Hepi is a dancer and choreographer with an interdisciplinary practice. In Soothsayer Serenades, she invites collaborators to develop playlists accompanied by provocations to move which are released at 4pm every Wednesday via the music streaming service Spotify. This format provides insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated ways of rethinking how art can be experienced and distributed across place and time to transcend geographical and physical boundaries. The pandemic has highlighted how the internet and free social media platforms have provided connectivity during a time when we have been estranged from friends, family, community and workplaces. The playlists in Soothsayer Serenades encourages listeners to actively participate, to reach out, and enable others to move in the shared moment of its release. The physicality of dance and the sensory qualities of music provide an experience of embodiment that either counters the isolating conditions of lockdown or suggests ways of reconnecting thereafter. The work invites us to experience the present, while also referencing the role of a soothsayer who has clairvoyant abilities to predict the future. If the pandemic has provided a portal to imagine different ways of being and living in the future, Soothsayer Serenades demonstrates an artistic response to how we could re-imagine our shared, global community and reaffirms the importance of our interconnection to each other.

Amrita Hepi is an award-winning First Nations choreographer and dancer from Bundjulung (Aus) and Ngāpuhi (NZ) territories. Her mission as an artist is to push the barriers of intersectionality in form and make work that establishes multiple access points through allegory. Her work is characterised by hybridity and engages in extending choreographic practices by combining dance and movement with other domains such as visual art, language and participatory research.

Sharmila Wood is the Director of the curatorial initiative JINA. Since 2012 she has worked as a Senior Curator with FORM. Previously, Sharmila has held a plurality of roles, from fostering market access with artisans in India to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage for Aboriginal communities in Australia and developing curatorial place-based strategies for public art projects. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to addressing concerns around heritage, environment, social, and spatial justice. Sharmila conceptualises and develops community projects through socially engaged processes, creates installations, collaborates with artists on major commissions, and makes art interventions. Sharmila has a Masters of Art History & Curatorship from the University of Sydney and in 2017 was the recipient of an Asialink residency. She has edited books and writes regularly for publications, and journals, most recently for the Journal of Public Space, and Springer. Currently, she is working on a curatorial project, Actions for the Earth, a participatory platform for ecology, healing, and kindness in response to COVID 19 and the climate emergency. Her long-term curatorial project with Aboriginal artists from the Pilbara region of Western Australia will be presented in 2021.

Notes for Tomorrow is a traveling exhibition organized and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI) and initiated by Frances Wu Giarratano, Jordan Jones, Becky Nahom, Renaud Proch, and Monica Terrero. The exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, VIA Art Fund and ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum.

We are on Treaty 1 Territory. Plug In ICA is located on the territories of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. Our water is sourced from Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.

Plug In ICA extends our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, valued members, and dedicated volunteers. We acknowledge the sustaining support of our Director’s Circle. You all make a difference.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We could not operate without their continued financial investment and lobbying efforts.

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