Lena Nyadbi<br/>
<em>Starry night in Jimbirla country</em> (2000) <!-- (recto) --><br />

earth pigments on canvas<br />
90.1 x 121.0 cm<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of the Joan Clemenger Endowment, Governor, 2001<br />
DC16-2001<br />
© Lena Nyadbi/Licensed by Copyright Agency, Australia
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Lena Nyadbi
Starry night in Jimbirla country (2000)
Media Release • 3 Mar 09

Shared Sky

Opening on 13 March, the National Gallery of Victoria will present Shared Sky, a fascinating exhibition exploring the cultural experience of the night sky over Australia.

Shared Sky is co-curated by the Prints & Drawings and Indigenous Art departments and will include approximately 50 prints, drawings, photographs and Indigenous works, with the majority from the NGV Collection.

Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV said: “Coinciding with the International Year of Astronomy, Shared Sky will present the observation and creative interpretations of the sky above Australia, reflecting our almost primal fascination with the night sky, from ritual and mythology to the science of astronomy.”

Shared Sky includes both international and Australian works by artists ranging from Albrecht Dürer in 1515 to Cassandra Laing in 2007.

Allison Holland, Curator, Prints & Drawings, NGV said: “Cultures from around the world and throughout the ages have used simple astronomical observations to mark the cycle of the seasons and the division of time.

“This exhibition will bring about an awareness of the enduring engagement humankind has had with the stars over the centuries,” said Ms Holland.

Key works in the exhibition include Albrecht Dürer’s Celestial map of the southern sky 1515 and John Bevis’ Uranographia Brittanica c1750, both illustrative charts that visualise the link between European mythology and early scientific knowledge.

Stephen Gilchrist, Curator, Indigenous Art, NGV said the exhibition will explore constellations associated with Indigenous and non-Indigenous narratives.

“For over 50,000 years Aboriginal people have built up their knowledge of the movements of the Sun, Moon and stars to complement their relationship with the natural world. Celestial bodies have been integral to everyday life, in storytelling, performance, art and ritual,” said Mr Gilchrist.

An installation of Banumbirr (Morning Star poles) will introduce the Indigenous creation stories associated with the Earth, Sun and Moon. Also on display will be two large-scale linocuts by Torres Strait artists, Dennis Nona and Alick Tipoti, revealing constellations imbued with Ancestral presence.

An exciting range of educational and public programs will look at the evolution of scientific observation and documentation as well as Australia’s cultural histories.

Shared Sky will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 13 March – 2 August 2009. The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is open 10am–5pm, closed Mondays. Entry is free.


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