Alive with the Dreaming! The Songlines project

"Kulilaya, ngura milmilpatjara; Tjukurpa alatjitu! Listen this land is sacred; Alive with the Dreaming!" - Nganyinytja OAM

National Museum of Australia
Ananguku Arts
Palya Fund
NPY Women‘s Council
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa
Achaeological and Heritage Management Solutions (AHMS)
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

Supporting organisations are:
Ara Irititja
Maruku Arts
The Ngaanyatjarra Council
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara
The Central Land Council
Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority

Participating Artists and Art Centres
Aboriginal Art Centres

To meet some of the people involved in the project, go to:

The Songlines project is inspired by the vision of Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people who came together in 1994 to record traditional Inma at Angatja on the APY Lands. These Elders recognized the importance of using modern media to record Tjukurpa story and song for their children and grandchildren. The resulting CDs and films have inspired the next generation to record more of the open ‘non-sacred’ stories of their creation ancestors throughout the Western Desert lands of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Ausrtalia.

The project brings together Indigenous and Western knowledge and science in maintaining, researching and recording stories and ceremony of two Tjukurpa or songlines . It supports Aboriginal Elders in passing on knowledge to young people. The project provides young Indigenous people with an opportunity to experience working in a multi-disciplinary project with major exhibition and performance outcomes. These include:

  • the Centenary of Canberra in 2013, 
  • the Ngintaka (Perentie Man) exhibition, where visual arts meet ethnography, at the South Australian Museum in 2014, and
  • the Kungkarangkalpa (Seven Sisters) exhibition at the National Museum in Canberra in 2016

Project coordinator Dr Diana James says that the vision is to increase national recognition and understanding of Indigenous Songlines as complex pathways of spiritual, ecological, economic, cultural and ontological knowledge. In turn, this will contribute to a radically new approach to the integration of Indigenous and western knowledge in understanding and managing our shared cultural and natural environments. The focus of this project will be on the creation ancestors: the Ngintaka or Perentie Lizard and Kungkarangkalpa or Seven Sisters. Their journeys connect the people and their land, the animals they hunt, the foods they gather, the life giving waterholes, their related languages and kinship structures.

Visit the ANU website for more details of the Songlines of the Western Desert Project funded by the Australian Research Council

Donate to support young Indigenous people taking part in the project HERE!

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