Aboriginal spirituality in an urban world

Nyah-bunyar (Temple) – Curated by Bindi Cole

Artists: Tony Albert, Daniel Boyd, Maree Clarke, Vicki Couzens, Fiona Foley, Denis Nona, Zane Saunders, Yhonnie Scarce

08 October – 24 October

The Arts Centre

Fiona Foley Image:  Fiona Foley

For the 2010 Melbourne Festival, emerging Indigenous artist Bindi Cole has curated an ambitious exhibition exploring contemporary Aboriginal spirituality in an urban world. Nyahbunyar (a Wathaurung word meaning ‘temple’) takes a fresh look at notions of spirituality, religion, ritual and death through a broad range of works from both established and emerging Indigenous artists.

Nyah-bunyar explores the complexities of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs that have long been misunderstood by non-Indigenous Australians. The Aboriginal belief system, which upholds and values ancestral beings, sacred sites, art, ceremony, ritual, totems, values, lore and social structures, continues to have significance in the lives of Aboriginal people today, even for those living in urban areas where the decimation of culture and spirituality is more strongly felt. These spiritual beliefs underpin the values and choices of urban Aboriginal people, and this exhibition examines how spirituality, religion, ritual and death can be reconciled when so much appears to have been lost.

From politically charged works engaging with deaths in custody and mortality to the contemporary re-imagining of a traditional funeral ceremony, Nyah-bunyar is a bold and unique exhibition.

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