At PICA we recognise that we are situated within the unceded lands of the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We pay our respects and offer our gratitude to Elders past and present, and to those emerging leaders in the community. We acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the importance of their care and continued connection to culture, community and Country.

Always was, always will be.

We are closed today. Our exhibitions are always free.

The Reckoning
Joshua Pether, Helah Milroy & Janine Oxenham

The Reckoning – Joshua Pether, Helah Milroy & Janine Oxenham

As part of a three-week residency at PICA, Joshua Pether, Janine Oxenham and Helah Milroy revisit their durational performance ritual The Reckoning, created in 2021 through a creative development at PICA.

The first performance outcome was a seven-hour performance ritual that utilised First Nations wisdom and knowledge whilst also taking inspiration from Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre developed in response to the trauma of the bombing of Hiroshima. The development involved the performers ‘reckoning’ with themselves and geographical sites of significance to First Nations people. Pether, Oxenham and Milroy revisit their performance methodology, extending the work to a 16-hour durational performance.

Meet the artists: The Reckoning Lunchtime Q&A

You’re invited to yarn with the creative team of The Reckoning. Bring your lunch and your questions, and join Joshua Pether, Janine Oxenham and Helah Milroy for a Q&A conversation about making The Reckoning

Date & Time: Wednesday 12 July, 12-1pm
Location: PICA Performance Space

Performance & Feast Information

This session has ended.

Derived from First Nations understanding, the performance is a progressive and meditative ritual that evolves over five hours, expressed through listening and contemplating the surrounding environment, connecting to Country and engaging with cultural knowledge. 

Open to the public, the artists encourage you to experience the performance ritual as a witness, staying as long or as little as you like. Performed by Pether, Milroy and Oxenham, the artists will address intergenerational trauma in self and Country based on Australia’s colonial past. The performance also includes live improvisation on saxophone by Josten Myburgh.  

Before the performance commences, come together with the artists for the Feast, a complimentary light supper.

Event Notes & Content Warnings

  • As The Reckoning involves an exploration of intergenerational trauma, themes and content may be distressing and sensitive to some.
  • Some loud sounds from live saxophone
  • Soft lighting with no strobe or haze

Workshop Information

This session has ended.

As part of the durational performance ritual, there are three practice-sharing workshops led by Pether, Oxenham and Milroy. The workshops form part of the 16-hour performance ritual but explore different methodologies to develop The Reckoning. They are designed to be fluid and responsive to the participants, their experiences and their Country.

Workshops are designed for First Nations people but are open to anyone wanting to start the process of decolonisation. Participants are welcome to attend one or all of the workshops. Registration is essential.

Workshop Prices
$5 for First Nations people
$10 general admission

PICA’s Performance Space is wheelchair accessible. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss specific access needs:

Timeline of Activities

Workshop 1: What is trauma? | 10am–12pm

At the height of Makuru, we arrive to start the day and ritual with a silent walk.

The silent walk acts as a portal to understanding trauma and ways to access the story of place, history and time. This workshop will be led by Joshua Pether, a ritual practitioner and performance artist.

What to Expect

Participants will meet in the PICA Performance Space and begin a walk through the James Street Mall (Northbridge) and surrounding areas before returning to PICA to finish the session. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and expect to travel along paved streets. Carry water, snacks and an umbrella or raincoat, if needed.

Workshop 2: How do we access trauma? | 12:30–2:30pm

As Sentinels, we will stand and observe our internal self and places within our physical body where we hold emotion.

This durational stillness, led by dance artist and choreographer Janine Oxenham, deeply connects us to our now, our past, our ancestral blood memory connection and our relationship to Country and each other.

What to Expect

A movement exploration practice in the PICA Performance Space. Participants may sit and observe or take part however much they feel comfortable. Please wear comfortable clothes appropriate for moving in. Bring a water bottle, notebook and pen.

Workshop 3: How do we move through and past trauma? | 3–6pm

Past and futures collide as the voice/song of Country becomes clearer – knowledge of place and time will be revealed.

Led by Helah Milroy, this session will guide participants through an improvisational movement process of self-reflection and ‘reckoning’ with themselves and the history of the land on which they stand.  Participants are given a first-hand experience of how ‘reckoning’ with the truth can help access the spontaneous creativity necessary to bring healing and connection to oneself, community and Country. 

What to Expect

A movement exploration practice in the PICA Performance Space. Participants may sit and observe or take part however much they feel comfortable. Please wear comfortable clothes appropriate for moving in. Bring a water bottle, notebook and pen.

Feast | 7–8pm

Feast upon the abundance of knowledge you have consumed – allow this to prepare you for the next stage.

The artists humbly welcome you to join them for light supper.

What to Expect

Complimentary light supper in the PICA Performance Space. Please let the artists know if you have any dietary requirements by registering.

Performance: The Reckoning | 9pm–2am

Witness the moment of reckoning.
Responsive to history, place and time, the knowledge of bodies access stored and hidden information. Midnight has come and so too has an understanding – we must build the monument

Witnesses are invited to experience a contemporary dance/theatre performance across five hours in the PICA Performance Space. Visitors are welcome to come and go for this part of the ritual, featuring music and sound created by improvisational musician Josten Myburgh. 

The Reckoning 2021

About the Artist

Joshua Pether is of Kalkadoon heritage and lives and works on Noongar country WA. He is an experimental performance artist and choreographer of movement, temporary ritual and imagined realities. His practice is influenced by his two cultural histories – Indigeneity and disability and how the two intersect and meet each other. As an independent artist he has performed both nationally and internationally with a career highlight of performing at PS122 in New York. In 2022 he was the first WA based artist selected as a finalist for the Kier Choreographic Award (KCA) since its inception back in 2014. He currently is a foundation artist for Art Centre Melbourne’s (ACM) Alter State Festival in partnership with Arts Access Victoria (AAV) – a biennial event that celebrates disability in Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific region.  

Helah Milroy is a Palyku woman (East Pilbara), living in the Walyalup (Fremantle) region of Western Australia. Helah is a multidisciplinary artist whose artwork utilizes feminist and First Nations epistemologies in her exploration of embodiment, transcendence, and the intersection between existential philosophy, theology and technology. In particular, Helah’s work focuses on understanding the right relationship between human and non-human worlds. 

Janine Oxenham is a Malgana Yamatji woman from the Shark Bay area in WA. She has choreographed and performed as a freelance contemporary Indigenous dancer for numerous festivals and projects in Regional & Metro WA. Janine has a love of working with community to tell Indigenous and Non-Indigenous stories through movement. Recently, Janine has enjoyed working in theatrical and experimental movement. As one of the founding artists for The Reckoning, this is the 2nd phase of Janine’s journey delving into this experimental methodology. 


The artists would like to acknowledge the following people for their invaluable input as part of  the project: Ian Wilkes, Barbara Bynder, Bobbi Henry and Josten Myburgh

The Reckoning is commissioned by BlakDance through BlakForm, with funding from Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government initiative, supported through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program and is also supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Both creative developments for The Reckoning have been supported by the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Image: Joshua Pether, Helah Milroy & Janine Oxenham, The Reckoning, 2021, photo: Emma Fishwick