Honiara residents will be able to view a weeklong Australian Indigenous art exhibition launched yesterday at the National Art Gallery by the Australian High Commissioner, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and the Permanent Secretary for Education and Human Resources Development.

The exhibition commemorates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s day, celebrated in August in Australia every year. The Yuendumu Doors will be on display at the Art Gallery from Monday 2 August through to Friday 6 August.

The Yuendumu Doors constitute one of the most important cultural and artistic collections in Australia. Each artwork, painted more than 30 years ago by Walpiri elders at a remote desert school in Yuendumu in central Australia, represents stories of the Indigenous Australian Dreamtime.

The theme for Children’s Day this year, ‘Proud in culture, strong in spirit’, recognises the important contribution of culture, family and community in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Launching the exhibition, Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said Australia is proud of the contribution of tens of thousands of years of Indigenous history to the contemporary identity of Australia.

“We are excited to share some of that history in celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. It’s quite fitting to exhibit the Yuendumu Doors art collection to mark Children’s Day. The 30 Yuendumu Doors were painted with important Dreamings, teaching the Yuendumu children about their ancestry and connection to country.

“Each door depicts a different Dreaming, using symbols which date back thousands of years to represent the people, animals and land that are so central to Warlpiri identity. The doors are a way for Warlpiri people to connect their youth to their culture,” said High Commissioner Strahan.

Dr Strahan said it was important for all people to nurture their own cultures at a time when globalisation and digital technology were flooding the world with certain dominating cultural influences. “All of us must retain our own distinctive character, spirit and traditions, making sure that our young are actively involved in keeping them alive,” he said. “At the same time, its equally important that we remain open and inclusive, sharing our cultures and building a greater understanding of each other. The Yuendumu doors exhibition plays a dual role, proudly expressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity and introducing a central aspect of Warlpiri culture to the people of Solomon Islands.”

Also speaking at the launch, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade the Hon Jeremiah Manele acknowledged the rich diversity, culture and history that Australia and Solomon Islands share.

“I would like to acknowledge the rich diversity that exists within our two states, it has given us strength. Similar experiences are also shared by our children here in Solomon Islands. Culture has and continues to influence their lives. Culture carries the stories, knowledge and life skills from previous generations that will be passed on to the next.

“We welcome the contribution that culture has shaped our lives and that of our children, particularly the children of Aborigines and Torres Strait Island. We welcome contributions that these very same children make in ensuring the world thrives and remains safe and secure for future generations. Culture remains our identity and who we are,’ said Minister Manele.

The launch was attended by various government dignitaries, diplomats, and business and community leaders.

The Australian High Commission looks forward to welcoming a number of school students and the wider public to visit the exhibition over the coming days. Entry is free of charge and the general public are welcome to come and view the artwork.

Source: Press Release