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Alive and Spirited at the NGA

Posted by Sas Lyon

Alive and Spirited is the latest exhibition now on show in the Children’s Gallery. It explores the important role of mythical beings in Aboriginal society; these exquisite works of art are the tangible evidence of the spiritual realm.

Throughout the exhibition children can explore the different mythical beings and the multiple ways in which they are represented. Some artists depict these spiritual beings in paintings on canvas or bark, as carved or engraved objects, as sculptured weavings or some use the format of a multimedia installation. All of these mechanisms are utilised to conjure the form and spiritual presence of the ancient supernatural beings.

These lively, powerful and sometimes naughty mythological spiritual beings take on many forms. In some instances they exist in human form, or they may manifest as animals, or sometimes they appear as both. They often reside within the land and or emerge from it. They took form in the Dreaming, either bringing order and stability or creating trouble and uncertainty. They are revered today through art, ceremonial song, dance and storytelling.

The diverse range of colourful and figurative works of art will captivate children while they learn and participate in the exciting narratives of the spiritual realm.

They can discover the supernatural beings of the Wandjina from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, enjoy the cheeky and playful Mimih spirits that live in the escarpments of the stone country of Western Arnhem Land, and see the graceful Yalkyalk freshwater spirits from Maningrida in Central Arnhem Land.

Journey through the land of Alive and Spirited to discover the importance of each individual spiritual being.

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