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'Yuendumu Doors' opens window into Australian aboriginal culture

By Dang Khoa   July 8, 2022 | 04:42 am PT
'Yuendumu Doors' opens window into Australian aboriginal culture
Visitors at the 'Yuendumu Doors' exhibition in HCMC. Photo courtesy of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam
Artworks created by the Yuendumu, an Aboriginal community in Australia, are on public display at a gallery in downtown HCMC until July 17.

The 'Yuendumu Doors' exhibition features 15 of 30 doors originally painted at the Yuendumu community school in central Australia in the early 1980s.

Elders of the Aboriginal Warlpiri people painted the doors in the early 1980s with stories from Dreaming, the Aboriginal belief system about the creation of the world.

"The doors are an important cultural and artistic collection in Australia," Sarah Hooper, Australia's Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, said at the exhibition's opening ceremony Wednesday, according to a statement by the Australian embassy.

She said the exhibition was a rare opportunity for Vietnamese citizens and residents to experience some of Australia’s extraordinary indigenous culture.

Aboriginal peoples are known to have lived in Australia for at least 65,000 years. Among the Aboriginal communities living in Central Australia, the Warlpiri people are one of the largest groups.

In the early 1980s, the need to preserve the Warlpiri people's traditions and cultural values for the younger generation and introduce them to the outside world became urgent.

To achieve this goal, a group of elderly Warlpiri people was invited to the Yuendumu community school in 1984 to paint Dreamtime stories on the classroom doors, ensuring that their descendants would always be in the background.

People looking at artworks on display. Photo courtesy of Australian Embassy Vietnam

People looking at artworks on display at 'Yuendumu Doors' exhibition. Photo courtesy of Australian Embassy in Vietnam

The Warlpiri Aboriginal team painted 30 doors with unique motifs that represented Dreaming stories and explained their homeland, ancestry, and culture.

These paintings also marked the beginning of Warlpiri contemporary art, with the beauty of Aboriginal cultural art presented in a western art medium using bright color palettes.

After surviving the desert wind and sun for 12 years at Yuendumu school, the actual doors are now conserved and displayed at the South Australian Museum.

The international touring exhibition was developed by the South Australian Museum in partnership with the National Museum of Australia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The exhibition is open to the public at Hai An bookstore's gallery at 2B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1.

 
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