For Mailman, the Badu Gili projections, which have featured work from Indigenous artists all across the country, epitomised everything that made Roberts who she was.
“Her database, her knowledge, her familiarity with so many communities around the country, not just in Sydney. She’s clearly made it her job to know each and every story of the communities that she’s worked with in detail,” Mailman explains. “Being there on that opening night and seeing the sails light up; seeing the stories unfold. It was breathtaking. That was Rhoda.”
The intricate and deep seated connections that Roberts has made in every corner of the country are no more evident than the planning of the seismic Homeground and Australia’s annual First Nations dance competition Dance Rites. In an incredible feat, Roberts responded to the challenges presented by 2020 and moved the competition wholly online. In its seventh year, Dance Rites brought together 27 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance groups with more than 350 performers spanning generations, nations and clan groups.
“She’s become an Auntie to so many of the young kids that come to the Opera House, in particular through the work she’s done with Dance Rites and the opportunities she’s carved out.”