River Rites

Is it a bird, is it a plane? Is it a bunyip, mulyawonk, wilder man, yeti, boogie man, nuuttipukki, urati, cerbul, merdules, urtzu or domadores?

A celebration of our cultural connection to country, River Rites combines extraordinary disguise making from repurposed materials found on Berri/Barmera farms and natural environs to create ‘Creatures of Havoc’ who will be filmed, photographed and perform.

In 2015, these ‘Creatures of Havoc’ will move from the Berri central streets to the Riverland Field Day in Barmera and culminate in a participatory installation at the River Lands Gallery.

River Rites celebrates the ‘spirit of place’ for Murray River communities – its geographies, time cycles, stories, cultures and people.

It draws on the worldwide cultural tradition of exhibitions and performances tied to seasonal revolutions, cyclical change and folklore in the form of elaborate disguises and publicly celebrated rituals. These rites link residents to their past and a future where their resilience is feted and their spirit of place is ‘unleashed’.

River Rites is such a gathering – a contemporary and localised invention of

a rural rite that allows the imagination to run wild. It resists the industrialisation of human spirit while joyfully honouring the resilience of Australian rural communities.


Open Workshop 1 – River Lands Gallery

With Robyn Andrews, Lorraine Marter, Glenys Leske & Ruth Pech

Work with top designers, fibre artists and disguise makers to design and construct a ‘Creature of Havoc’ disguise with fibres, fabrics, farm materials and a whole lot of fun whilst sharing your story of change.


Open Workshop 2, 3 & 4 – Riverland Field Days

With Nici Wright, Robyn Andrews, Lorraine Marter, Glenys Leske & Ruth Pech

Help make incredible disguises and wearable art at the Field Day with top designers, fibre artists and disguise makers.


With Jude Anderson and Jessica Foster.

Model incredible disguises and wearable art for photo portraits and others’ selfies in our studio at the Field Day with top performance directors.


With one of Australia’s top photojournalists, Julie Millowick.

Photograph incredible disguises and wearable art in our photo studio.



Free open workshops

Be part of one or all four open workshops to help create, model or photograph these ‘Creatures of Havoc’

Open workshop 1

When: 10, 11 & 12 July, anytime from 1 – 5pm

Where: River Lands Gallery, 23 Wilson Street, Berri

Open workshop 2, 3 & 4

When: Saturday 19 September, anytime from 9am – 5pm

Where: Marquee Pavilion, Riverland Field Day, Sturt Highway, Barmera



Installation & exhibition

Come to the Creatures of Havoc interactive installation and exhibition opening. See the results of the paparazzi, be part of the havoc, interact with the people and poses that have been brought together for the River Rites Creatures of Havoc exhibition opening.

When: Friday 25 September, 6pm

Where: River Lands Gallery, 23 Wilson Street, Berri

Exhibtion open: 26 September – 4 October

Gallery open: Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm & Saturday, 10am – 1pm


How you can help us

Help us by hoarding materials such as nylon string fruit bags, industrial wrapping plastics, strips of plastic drip irrigation piping, tyre inner tubes and old canvas water bags. You can also share your ‘story of change’ with us. Email your contact details to robyn.andrews@tafesa.edu.au and we’ll organise collection of your items and stories.


Image: El Nino Havoc. Photo by Julie Millowick.


02. 11. 2015

River Rites 2015 Video Gallery

  Punctum Inc. got creative and put together some short videos showcasing the amazing disguises that were created as part of their latest project, River Rites. Through the talents of Jude Anderson, Julie Millowick, Nici Wright and a host of local artists, seven Creatures of Havoc were created , photographed and exhibited in the Berri/Barmera region. […]


Matthew Bennett

Matthew Bennett


Open Workshop 1: 10-12 July anytime from 1-5pm

Open Workshops 2,3 & 4: Saturday 19 September anytime from 9am - 5pm

Exhibition Opening: Friday 25 September, 6pm

Exhibition open: 26 September - 4 October


Artists in Residence with Community Participation


Punctum Inc


River Lands Gallery, Marquee Pavilion - Riverland Field Day Barmera

Founded in 2004, Punctum is an artist-led Live Arts organisation based in Castlemaine, Australia. Small in scale and big in commitment, Punctum seeks to advance contemporary performance practice by growing it in regional contexts.

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Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.