The Themes of Shadow Spirit
From The Curator
“In my community and for First Peoples across Australia we hold stories of spirits and other worldly beings that heed both warning and protection. Across our lands there are accounts of Ancestral creatures that have created the rivers and mountains, that swim in the oceans and protect waters ways and there are tales of beings that entrap minds and children or lead you astray causing you mischief. There are stories of beings that bring new life of babies and protection of country that guide you in ways to safety and care.
These stories both light and dark are not myths or folklore, they are real to the people and to the land and linked to the human experience of connecting to place and ecologies we are yet to understand. Further to these stories embedded in the spirit of country there are connections to the metaphysical and multidimensional space of time, between mind and matter with people and animal kin that are said to travel on astral plains beyond what we know on earth, that shapeshift and connect, who heal and pass on messages.
My ideas for this exhibition have come from the many years of yarns with Elders and community—the stories told around the kitchen table and campfires—and my passion to share community voice and culture, these stories relate to deep networks of knowledge. My aim for Shadow Spirit is to inspire and share with respect and integrity the many stories that relate to this theme—from the personal, the imaginative, the historical, and the cultural perspectives of the artists.”
— Kimberley Moulton, Yorta Yorta, Senior Curator and Artistic Associate, RISING
Woven through the exhibition are subthemes that will circulate.
Weaving Time considers the multi-dimensional space of being in our world that goes back to the morning of the first sunrise. We are in an ever-present slip stream of what we know as time. It was then, it is now, and it is yet to happen. Through dreams and through travel there are special people, astral plains and multiverses that weave, communicate and undulate.
Through Spirit Ecologies we see that Country has spirit and holds stories of other worldly beings that bring warnings and protection. Across the continent there are accounts of creatures that live in and protect waterways, these spirit ecologies are dynamic and change across the country, they are present on land and in water, they are subterranean and live amongst the stars.
The Guides are energies in our lives, connected to who we are and to the land, there are stories of beings that bring new life of babies and protection of country. Illuminating and safe, they can be playful and cheeky. Guides take different forms, from Ancestral constellations of star navigation and stories above, to the changing seasons and animal and plant kin that move with everchanging wind. They can be the spirits of loved ones passed and Ancestors before, we should honour them and listen deeply.
We feel sometimes an Absent Presence, there is the space between what we feel and what we know, what the body tells us in opposition to what the mind wants us to think. There are things that feel very present but that cannot be seen, sometimes they bring warning or mischief, sometimes they feel unwanted.
In the The In-between multiverses of time and reality are considered— where spirits hide between the last light and the blanket of night, where country calls and the sand knows your name. It is the space where Ancestor serpents create the rivers and visit in dreams. Are we remembering or are we imagining?
These relationships into the shadow spirit world connect us to our past and protect our futures.
John Prince Siddon
Weaving Time by Dylan Mooney
John Prince Siddon
Peert Koorook — Guardian Of Womens Country
The Umbra by Hayley Millar Baker
Zugubal by Brian Robinson