My Wednesdays will be a real bright spot in the long,dark, drag of a British winter. Songlines a major International exhibition of the art of Australian First Nations People has opened today, Thursday, at The Box in Plymouth where I work. Yesterday was training and orientation day, like many such days in any subject I came away disorientated and aware of how little I know about the subject being taught, in this case non- western art. If those were my only thoughts on this wonderful exhibition that would be quite enough to deal with, but Songlines is not that simple. The subject matter of Songlines is both Ancient and Modern and is a thorny old subject to get my head around.
The heroines and positive energy of the Songlines in this exhibition are the seven sisters who use guile, magic and determination to protect themselves from a dangerous sexual predator who is named Wati Nyiru.
Shape Shifting and long distance travel are two of the methods used by the sisters to protect themselves. In the picture above, the seven sisters are expressed as highly decorated ceramic vases. Wati Nyiru is the malevolent vase lurking in the corner.
That is the limit of my day one understanding that I have the confidence to write down. I am in luck though. Such is the significance of this Exhibition, the BBC has made a T.V programme about it with Mary Beard . A Professor of Classics at Cambridge University, I have every confidence that Mary will shine a bright torch on this exhibition and succinctly explain all the nuances of these stories that it would take me forever to work out.
I have a date with her on Friday evening to watch her programme, Inside Culture. To be fair I often watch her either on a Friday or on catch up but never usually with the concentration that I will give this weeks programme.