This September, the National Museum of Australia, Canberra will showcase Indigenous songlines, a sophisticated knowledge system with ancient origins, in an exhibition that is the first of its kind.


Told through the tales of the ancestral Seven Sisters’ journey across Australia’s Central and Western deserts, the National Museum’s Songlines Tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition allows visitors to connect with a distinctively Aboriginal way of telling history. The exhibition explores this unique indigenous art form and showcases five songlines using paintings, installations, song, dance, stories and film to tell the story of the Seven Sisters as they criss-cross the continent.

Intrigue, desire, drama, passion, beauty… this exhibition has it all. Songlines will be like no other, with the museum taking a multi-sensory approach to the visitor experience – from an explosion of colour and movement as the visitor enters the exhibition to extraordinary art, sculpture, interactive screens and a state-of-the-art digital dome.

Under this six-metre dome, visitors will have a sense of standing beneath the rock art at Cave Hill – arguably the only known rock art site depicting the Seven Sisters. The dome also features time-lapsed vision of the transit of the Orion and Pleiades with animated forms of the Seven Sisters’ figures flying across the night sky.

A vibrant art centre hub in the exhibition space offers visitors an opportunity to experience the art practice of the peoples of the Central and Western deserts, as well as a unique retail experience. Not only will desert art be on sale but the hub will also highlight the talents of Indigenous artists through an artists-in-residence and workshops program.

Songlines Tracking the Seven Sisters is on show from 15 September 2017 to 25 February 2018, at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Located on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Museum is one of the nation’s leading attractions and a place where the rich and diverse stories of Australia and its people come alive.
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Featured image: Kungkarrangkalpa Tjukurrpa 2015
by Anawari Inpiti Mitchell, Angilyiya Tjapiti Mitchell, Lalla West, Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell, Eileen Tjayanka Woods, Lesley Laidlaw and Robert Woods, Papulankutja Artists
© the artists / licensed by Viscopy 2017