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Discover the compelling modern portrayal of Aboriginal storytelling at WA Museum's Three Journeys exhibition

Rhiannon Clarke -

Discover a contemporary and powerful expression of Aboriginal storytelling at the new Three Journeys exhibition at the WA Museum Boola Bardip.

The three-month exhibition, which opened on 18 November, showcases the art of storytelling through various mediums such as filmmaking, television, music, and art, providing a deep insight into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Through the exhibition, viewers can explore the untamed expanse of the Western Australian outback and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of language, artistry, and stories that have shaped a remarkable and distinctive culture.

Three Journeys is the culmination of three travelling exhibitions, Bush Mechanics, Cleverman, and Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool, offering visitors the opportunity to explore outlandish cars and irresistible characters in Bush Mechanics, multimedia interactives in Cleverman, and the sonic, emotionally evocative sculpture Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool.

WA Museum 2024 season launch. (Image: supplied, WA Museum)

In addition to the exhibitions, Three Journeys will also feature a series of public programs and curated experiences, including decadent culinary journeys and bespoke performances.

Three Journeys delves into the timeless narratives, both ancient and contemporary, that unite communities and ignite the imaginations of generations to come.

Bush Mechanics:

Explore the broader insights into Aboriginal life and culture through Bush Mechanics, a television series co-created by David Batty and Francis Jupurrurla Kelly.

This popular ABC show, known for its distinctive brand of humor, showcases the ingenuity of outback mechanics.

Resourceful individuals who feature in the series can transform branches, spinifex and sand into tools and spare parts to repair cars and get them back on the road.

The exhibition features various items from the series, such as two original cars, clay figurines, specially commissioned artwork, and interactive displays.

Bush Mechanics "What's this big monster?". (Image: PAW Media)

The Cleverman exhibition:

Cleverman, the dystopian sci-fi series that made a powerful impact on ABC TV in 2016, delves into a collection of Aboriginal origin stories set in a modern setting.

With a keen political sensibility, it explores themes of class, racism, and power.

The exhibition offers a captivating experience, blending video, audio, and objects to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Cleverman.

Visitors can explore the original props, costumes, and make-up used in the series, gaining an up-close encounter with the intricately crafted designs by Weta Workshop.

Additionally, the exhibition showcases artwork from the original comic book series, adding another layer of visual delight.

Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool:

The Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool is a collaborative project between the Warmun Aboriginal community and Tura, an intercultural arts organization.

Tura partnered with the community and artists of Warmun to transform a 1980's Mazda ute into a percussion instrument with fence wire and various wreck parts.

Ten Gija artists painted various panels resulting in a composite of sculptural work, visual artwork, and sonic instrument.

The Museum acquired Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool and transported it from Kununurra to Perth in 2023 as part of "The Journey Down" program.

Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool on the Warmun Joonba Ground. (Image: Edify Media)

Initially, it was part of the temporary Three Journeys exhibition at Boola Bardip and will later move to a front of house location for permanent display.

Within the exhibition, Warnarral Ngoorrngoorrool is accompanied by projection mapping and audio-visual interpretation.

Three Journeys, Aboriginal storytelling through film, music and art runs from Saturday 18 November 2023 to Sunday 4 February 2024.

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