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Tasmanian exhibition secures funding for national tour

THE Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) has received funding from the Federal Liberal Government to produce a national touring exhibition exploring the Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural practice of shell stringing.

“kanalaritja: An Unbroken String” will exhibit historical Tasmanian Aboriginal shell necklaces from the TMAG collection alongside contemporary pieces from today’s makers.

The exhibition will open at TMAG in December 2016 before touring Melbourne, Canberra, Albany, Geraldton, Adelaide, Darwin, Toowoomba, Grafton, Sydney and Launceston over the next three years.

TMAG director Janet Carding said kanalaritja would be TMAG’s first national touring exhibition since “tayenebe: Tasmanian Aboriginal women’s fibre work”, which opened at the museum in 2009 and toured nationally in 2010 to 2011.

“kanalaritja will be immersive and interactive, offering a sensory experience of shell stringing and it will highlight the voice of the makers through the use of multi-media elements and artist-run public programs,” she said.

“A major exhibition catalogue, with contributions from leading Tasmanian Aboriginal academics, curators and writers, will provide a deeper level of appreciation and understanding beyond the exhibition.”

Ms Carding said TMAG was thrilled to have received funding through the Visions of Australia program in order to bring the exhibition to both local and national audiences.

“kanalaritja will offer the Australian public a unique glimpse into one of the most culturally significant and closely guarded traditions of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community,” she said.

“This community journey has never before been the focus of a touring exhibition, nor comprehensively documented in a dedicated publication.

“We look forward to bringing kanalaritja to TMAG and 10 more venues across each Australian state and territory over the next three years.”

Minister for the Arts Vanessa Goodwin said she was delighted that TMAG would produce the project.

“The museum has received $427,875 over three years under the Visions of Australia program to produce kanalaritja,” she said.

Caption: Participants in the luna tunapri program collecting shells for necklaces on Flinders Island. Image courtesy of Lucia Rossi, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

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