Ancestral Power in Darwin

by Jennifer Mattiuzzo
Publish date
2 August 2011
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Jen Mattiuzzo is an Exhibition Manager at Melbourne Museum who is on the team that assembled the Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic exhibition.

NAIDOC Week was the backdrop for a series of public programs and events for Museum Victoria’s travelling exhibition Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic. This exhibition includes stunning painted barks and ceremonial objects from the Donald Thomson Collection, all collected by Thomson during the 1930s and 1940s from central and eastern Arnhem Land.

Traditional Owners of these works travelled to Darwin from Arnhem Land to take part in floor talks and to welcome the exhibition.

The highlight of the week was the welcome celebration on Wednesday 6 July where Yolngu men and women from Milingimbi danced and spoke about the importance these sacred designs and stories to an enthusiastic audience of locals and tourists. They came to pay respect to their ancestor, Harry Makarrwala, who painted one of the works in the exhibition.

Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic is on display at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory until 11 September 2011.

This exhibition is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of Australian cultural material across Australia.

Janice Wungurrkthun and Isobel Malulawuy Gaykamangu
Janice Wungurrkthun and Isobel Malulawuy Gaykamangu paint up before the performance
Image: Samantha Hamilton
Source: Museum Victoria

Children during the welcome celebration
Children danced alongside their parents and grandparents during the welcome celebration
Image: Samantha Hamilton
Source: Museum Victoria

Dancing at the entrance to MAGNT
Dancing begins at the entrance to MAGNT before moving into the exhibition space.
Image: Samantha Hamilton
Source: Museum Victoria

Bobby Makurrminya Dhurrwuy
Bobby Makurrminya Dhurrwuy leads.
Image: Samantha Hamilton
Source: Museum Victoria

Relaxing after the performance Relaxing after the performance.
Image: Samantha Hamilton
Source: Museum Victoria


MV Blog: Ancestral Power opens in Benalla

MV News: Ancestral Power and the Aesthetic

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