The Story Behind Star Gazers

44 yy

Star Gazer

Knowledge of the deep solar system and local Indigenous knowledge of the stars are fused in the current exhibition Shared Sky at the John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University, open until 2nd November. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with Yamaji Art Centre, Geraldton, the international SKA Organisation; SKA-South Africa; SKA-Australia and the First People Centre, Bethesda Arts Centre, Nieu Bethesda, South Africa.

The exhibition focuses on the shared knowledge of the Square Kilometre radio telescope project, hosted in Australia and South Africa. It explores the traditional stories of Indigenous people from both regions of these continents, whose ancient knowledge of astronomy is deeply embedded in their cultures.

Astronomy was an important source of knowledge for Aboriginal people across the Australian continent. It is used in measuring the seasons and the calendar, for the cycles of localised food sources, and for directions by night. The knowledge of astronomy is embedded in the ancient Law stories carried by Aboriginal people over vast periods of time.

The Warlpiri people of the Tanami Desert include families who are custodians of the Jukurrpa or Dreamtime Law story of the Seven Sisters, the Pleaides. This knowledge is shared over a wide territory and by many different language groups. Artists from the Central Desert communities of Nirripi and Yuendumu have long painted these stories, and in more recent times have exhibited contemporary visions of the  Yanjirlpirri Jukurrpa (Star Dreaming) at their exhibitions at Japingka Gallery.

To see the artists’ work of these fascinating stories visit the exhibition page or view the exhibition live at Japingka Gallery from 21 November to 23 December 2014.