Fear eats the soul was the well-documented theme of this year’s Dark Mofo, and for the second year running, the festival culminated in a firey spectacle based on a traditional Indonesian ogoh ogoh ceremony designed to purge people’s fears by consigning them to the flames.
Throughout the duration of Dark Mofo, people visiting Dark Park were invited to write their most intimate worries and fears onto pieces of paper and deposit them in a collection that was incorporated into the body of the ogoh ogoh, which this year was a magnificent visualisation of a weedy sea dragon, a creature found in Tasmanian coastal waters.
The ogoh ogoh and other more traditional deities were carried shoulder high in a procession from the Winter Feast at Salamanca around the Hobart waterfront to Dark Park.
Once at Dark Park, and joined by thousands of onlookers, the shaman who had ridden the ogoh ogoh all the way from Salamanca led a ‘fight to the death’ with a variety of demons while percussionists played a kecak, or monkey dance, familiar to anyone who has visited Ubud in Bali and seen the traditional performances there.
Eventually the poor sea dragon was set alight, taking all those fears with it.
Here’s a short video of the burning of the Ogoh ogoh.