Hello and welcome to Shadow Spirit.
I’m Kimberley Moulton, I am a Yorta Yorta woman and the curator of the exhibition. Shadow Spirit is commissioned by RISING and presented by Metro Trains Melbourne.
First Peoples in Australia hold stories of spirits and other worldly beings that heed both warning and protection. Across the continent there are accounts of Ancestral creatures that have created and inhabit rivers and oceans and celestial beings that map the cosmos, illuminating Ancient story and navigation systems. There are beings that protect land and the subterranean, and tales of energy that might lead you astray.
Further to these stories embedded in the spirit of Country; there are connections to the metaphysical and multidimensional space of time and to people who heal through old knowledge and pass messages through dreams. We have histories in this land that have been forgotten with time, or that sit beneath the surface and in the shadows of cities and towns, yet carried in the memory of descendants who survived.
These stories both light and dark are not myths or folklore, they are networks of First Peoples knowledge and inherited memory which have a multiplicity of meanings; protection, discipline, law and respect. And they exist within expansive First Peoples world views that cannot be contained within the western paradigm of understanding. These knowledges also link to the universal human experience of connecting to place and ecologies—some we are yet to understand.
There are five subthemes that undulate through the exhibition, there is no linear way to interpret these, but they work in circular motion, speaking to each other throughout the artists work. These themes are a portal into different world views and ways of understanding that exist within networks of deep knowledge.