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Hanoi exhibition brings Australian indigenous culture to local residents

Thursday, December 10, 2020, 12:52 GMT+7
Hanoi exhibition brings Australian indigenous culture to local residents
Murdie Nampijinpa Morris is seen in a photo capturing her and her door. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

An exhibition showcasing Australian indigenous culture is currently taking place in Hanoi to bring Australia’s unique indigenous culture to a Vietnamese audience and deepen the people-to-people link between the two countries.

Titled “Yuendumu Doors,” the event is said to showcase “one of the most important cultural and artistic collections in Australia,” the Australian Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release on Tuesday.

The exhibition, opened the same day at the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi, features 15 out of 30 doors painted by Warlpiri elders at the Yuendumu community school in 1984.

They represent Warlpiri people’s very first experiment with acrylic paint, a western art medium, to detail their daily lives and their Dreaming - the Aboriginal belief system about the creation of the world.

“Each door is not only a masterpiece but also an invaluable repository of Warlpiri knowledge and history,” the embassy described.

A door displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A work displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

The Warlpiri people are one of the largest groups among the Aboriginal communities living in Central Australia for many thousands of years.

For much of Warlpiri history, their Dreaming was drawn on the sand, and then erased by desert winds.

In the early 1980s, Warlpiri people decided they needed a way to restore their ancestral tradition and cultural values for younger generations and share them with the world beyond the desert.

To realize this mission, in 1984, a group of Warlpiri elders were invited to paint their dreams onto the classroom doors of Yuendumu community school.

Thirty doors were painted in total, with unique patterns demonstrating different dream stories, teaching generations of Yuendumu children about Warlpiri land, ancestry and culture.

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

Vanetta Nampijinpa Hudson is seen painting a piece in this photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
Vanetta Nampijinpa Hudson is seen painting a piece in this photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

The “Yuendumu Doors” is an international touring exhibition which was developed by the South Australian Museum in partnership with the National Museum of Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The actual doors are now conserved and displayed at the South Australia Museum after surviving the desert wind and sun for 12 years at Yuendumu school.

“I am very proud to present the Yuendumu doors for the first time in Vietnam through this exhibition,” Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie talked about the event.

“This collection demonstrates not only a valuable part of Australia’s unique indigenous culture, one of the world oldest living cultures, but also demonstrates how cultural heritage can be passed down through generations.”

“We are pleased to continue working with the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to showcase Australia’s Indigenous culture to Vietnamese audience and deepen the understanding between our two countries,” she added.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie (2nd from right) and Dang Xuan Thanh, vice president of Vietnam Academy of Social Science, Director of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (2nd from left) cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie (2nd from right) and Dang Xuan Thanh, vice president of Vietnam Academy of Social Science, Director of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (2nd from left) cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

“With this exhibition, we would like the public to have the opportunity to understand some of the traditions of Australian Aboriginal people, appreciate the traditional values of our ancestors and contribute to preserving and enhancing the values of cultural heritage in the context of global integration,” Dang Xuan Thanh, vice president of Vietnam Academy of Social Science, Director of the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology stated.

The “Yuendumu Doors” exhibit will run through January 2021.

A kid is seen at the opening day of the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A kid is seen at the opening day of the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A door displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A work displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A door displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

A work displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

A door displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi on December 8, 2020. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi
A door displayed at the Yuendumu Doors exhibition in Hanoi. Photo provided by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi

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Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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