The Year Is 2020 is a striking collaboration between performance poet Anisa Nandaula and filmmakers Bill+Brown. In a bold piece of performance poetry, Anisa uses a metaphorical Australian civil war to speak to the unjustness of Australia’s refugee policies. This is a punch-in-the-guts introduction to an important new voice in Australian culture.
The Year Is 2020 started with a random email from James to Anisa. He’d seen a YouTube video of her performing at the Queensland Poetry Slam and sent it to us. We’d been talking about doing a project with a musician or spoken word artist. Anisa responded enthusiastically and sent us a draft of her poem The Year is 2020.
It was perfect.
Yes, it’s a metaphor for Australia’s refugee policies – but the way it places that commentary in the context of the simmering, underlying fear of the ‘other’ that is the truth of Australian history is the strength of the poem in our opinion. And what makes it relevant right now – in the shadow of Christchurch, and during an election when those fears will undoubtedly be exploited by our politicians, again, with rhetoric about “African gangs”, “secure borders”, “stopping boats” etc.