Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters
- When 15 Sep 2017 - 25 Feb 2018
MON – SUN, 9AM – 5PM
1800 026 132
A ground breaking new exhibition at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) featuring the Domelab pioneered by UNSW with ten partner universities and cultural institutions explores ancient Indigenous songlines.
Led by Indigenous communities, an immersive multimedia experience is at the centre of Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters which aims to tell an Indigenous founding narrative through Indigenous ways of passing on knowledge.
A songline, or dreaming track, traces the journey of ancestral spirits as they created the land, animals, and lore. The exhibition showcases sections of five Indigenous Western Desert songlines and includes some 100 paintings and photographs; six major installations; objects and multimedia.
Designed to travel across Australia, the DomeLab was conceived and developed in 2015 by UNSW's Professor Sarah Kenderdine in collaboration with the National Museum and partner organisations, as part of an Australian Research Council grant.
Speaking with The Canberra Times the NMA senior Indigenous cultures curator Margo Neale said Songlines was an exploration of how communities work with museums, not how museums work with communities.
"Songlines was initiated, driven and guided by Anangu elders who came to us and the Australian National University some seven years ago asking us to help them preserve these stories for future generations and to share them with all Australians," Ms Neale said.
"These elders expressed a sense of urgency that their songlines were being 'broken up' and they asked whether we could help put them back together again."
She said songlines were becoming lost or fragmented in many parts of Australia because of people's extended absences from and loss of country.
"Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters helps redress this by realising the elders' hopes of reconnecting with, revitalising and retrieving what they could of the songlines," Ms Neale said.