The South Australian Museum is responsible for the most signficant ethnographic collection of Australian Aboriginal material culture in the world.
The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery is an object-rich experience that features over 3,000 items from communities across the country. As the gateway to Aboriginal Australia, it draws from the Museum's extensive collections to show how Aboriginal people created innovative and creative ways of life in one of the world's harshest occupied continents.
The gallery explores this amazing culture with a wealth of boomerangs, bark paintings, shields, maps, early recordings, photographs, field notebooks, and the return of the Yuendumu School Doors. These magnificent Doors represent one of the earliest examples of Aboriginal artists successfully transferring their ancient ground paintings to a large-scale modern medium.
The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery is generously supported by Newmont Asia Pacific.
About the Yuendumu School Doors
In late 1983, five Yuendumu artists (Paddy Jupurrurla Nelson, Cookie Japaljarri Stewart, Paddy Japaljarri Sims, Larry Jungarrayi Spencer and Roy Jupurrurla Curtis) painted 30 doors at the Yuendumu School with 27 Dreaming designs. The designs represent more than 200 sites in the Warlpiri and Anmatyerre territory.
The artists intended for the Doors to remind the Yuendumu schoolchildren of sites and obligations extending across their country. The Doors remained at Yuendumu for 12 years, resisting the desert wind and sun, and surviving robust treatment from Warlpiri schoolchildren.
For the children, the Doors soon became inviting canvases for graffiti. In 1995 when they were purchased by the South Australian Museum, the Doors had been opened and shut countless times, perhaps with more profanity than reverence.
Four Doors are on display in Adelaide Airport as part of an ongoing partnership between Adelaide Airport Ltd and the South Australian Museum.
For over a century the South Australian Museum has been deeply involved in, and committed to the collection, study, display and interpretation of Indigenous cultures of Australasia.
Image above: Door #17 – Ngatijirrikirli (Budgerigar) by Paddy Japaljarri Stewart