Powerhouse Museum commissions leading Indigenous artists to explore lineage in new exhibition

The Powerhouse Museum has announced its new exhibition, Linear, an exploration into the significance of line and lineage within Indigenous cultural narratives and practices across science, technology, design and aesthetics. Premiering on 15 November 2019, Linear brings together unique, diverse and personal voices of 10 leading Indigenous practitioners from across Australia.

Designed by the award-winning Jacob Nash, Murri man and Head of Design at Bangarra Dance Theatre, the exhibition explores themes of songline, lineage and cultural legacy through the stories, content and work from artists including Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Maree Clarke, Mikaela Jade, Nicole Monks, Glenda Nicholls, Wayne Quilliam, Lucy Simpson, Bernard Singleton, Lynette Wallworth, and Vicki West.

Helpmann and Green Room awards winner, Jacob Nash said: “At the core of this exhibition is a visual map composed of lines that link Australia together, culturally, spiritually and physically. These lines hold meaning beyond a mark on a page. The idea that a line can hold such significance was the starting point for the design of Linear and it has driven the visual language of the exhibition. These lines hold Linear together, they guide us, teach us and let the objects tell our stories.”

Cabrogal woman and founder of Indigital Mikaela Jade will present Wiyanga Bamulra Butt Butt Gurinyi (Mother Earth’s Heartbeat), a new work combining AR technology with ancient forms of communication used between Indigenous groups across Australia. Through an AR app, this Indigital storytelling encourages visitors to bring to life ancient culture and stories told by the voices of traditional knowledge holders.The Emmy award-winning immersive VR experience Collisions by artist and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth invites audiences into the world of Indigenous elder, Nyarri Nyarri Morgan and the Martu people of the remote Western Australian desert. In this work Nyarri shares his story of the devastating collision between his traditional world and his experience of nuclear testing in the South Australian desert.

Possum-skin cloak: Canoe Tree by artist of Waradgerie (Wiradjuri), Irish, English, Scottish and French heritage, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, provides a monumental statement about the impact of settlement on Indigenous cultural practices.

Cairns-based artist Bernard Singleton invites audiences to explore traditional practice through two installations. 20 Galga (spears) and 10 Milay (spear throwers) will be displayed, alongside new Nyirrma Yadjul language sticks.

Four works have been newly acquired by the Powerhouse Museum for its collection. Nyinajimanha (sitting together) by transdisciplinary artist of Yamatji, Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage Nicole Monks.  This work is inspired by the campfire as a meeting place for women to weave, cook and pass down stories.  It has been created to encourage visitors to sit together.  Yuwaalaraay woman and Sydney-based artist Lucy Simpson explores time and the evolution of practices through her new work Yilaalu Cont, an installation that presents porcelain echidna quills.

Linear includes photographs by one of Australia’s pre-eminent Indigenous artists Wayne Quilliam, and the Men in Mourning and Women in Mourning from the series Ritual and Ceremony, 2013/4 from internationally renowned artist and Mutti Mutti, Wamba Wamba, Boon Wurrung woman Maree Clarke.

Marcus Hughes, Head of Indigenous Engagement and Strategy and curator of Linear said: “The Powerhouse Museum has a rich history of Indigenous-led programs, and we are committed to continue to strengthen our engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Linear is an Indigenous-led exhibition curated with the support from a range of Indigenous cultural experts and provides an opportunity for the museum to continue to build exemplar models for the representation of Indigenous cultural material.”

An education and public program will accompany the exhibition. Full details will be announced in October 2019.


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