16 October 2017

Songlines: tracking the seven sisters

Canberra is a comfortable drive from my home, so it's easy to visit there for a couple of days. We specifically went there this week to enjoy three places in our national capital: Floriade, Parliament House, and the National Museum of Australia. All enriched us.

At the Museum, we experienced the Songlines: tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition. It was powerful and dream-like in some places and outside any of my existing knowledge.

The belief system of Indigenous Australians encompasses the faith that objects, places, and creatures possess spiritual essences. As part of that belief, songlines are the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) that show the tracks of creator-beings during the Dreaming. 

Recorded in stories, dances, songs, and paintings and passed down from generation to generation, these paths include knowledge about landmarks, waterholes, and local animals. The Seven Sisters songlines are among the most significant of the extensive creation tracks that crisscross Australia. 

This special exhibition at the Museum runs until 25 February and it is fabulous. Make sure you download the app before you go so you can listen to the Seven Sisters guide you through the exhibit. (If you can't get there, listen to the app anyway. It's terrific.) 

Be uninhibited and lie down in the digital dome to immerse yourself in the only known Seven Sisters rock art site and see stunning vision of the sisters flying across the night sky. It's the best part of the exhibition, in my opinion.  

I don't know what to make of our Songlines experience. I'm not sure how to process what I learned but I do know that it's an exhibition that has broadened my thinking about a different belief system. 

Have you seen it? What is your reaction? 

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