This exhibition is on the third floor of GOMA and is running until the 30th of July 2017. It is an exhibition of some of the most beautiful items in the Aboriginal and Pacific Island Collection of the Museum and it is well worth visiting.
As you walk into the hall there is a central area where you will see a large number of wooden poles each one painted with red, orange, black and white concentric rings, and decorated with feathers, generally white, but also some coloured ones, human hair and rope. These poles are called Banumbirr or Morning Stars poles.
They are all different and were commissioned by the Gallery from areas around Arnhem Land. They are used in ceremonies connected to the creation story and funeral rites. It is said that an elder in using one of these poles is entrusted with ensuring that Venus rises every morning. They will conduct ceremonies and dance around the poles which will then be gifted to the families. Another story talks of a woman having Venus at the end of a long rope which she then releases every morning.
At the end of the Morning Star poles is a Ngatu Ta Uli barkcloth of 22 metres.This is used in mourning rituals. This particular barkcloth was made by a collective of Women in Auckland, New Zealand. It was given to the Museum and the appropriate ceremonies were held as it was handed over.
There are two very elaborate pandanus mats on display as well.
The mats are from Vanuatu and the pandanus was sent to Townsville where they were made by Alice as part of a woman's dowry. The black mat is particularly noteworthy with a double weave, dyed black in black mud. Look at the intricacy of the pattern.
The exhibition has a large number of delicate pearl shell pendants made by Aubrey Tigan from Tonga. There are also head dresses and necklaces on display which are from Aboriginal groups. The exhibition looks at light and dark in equal measure and the items on display have been carefully chosen to depict that. If you are interested in hearing more about the background of how these works were acquired and their meaning consider going to one of the Volunteer Guided Tours.