“These are the stories and beliefs of my people,” said Aunty Zeta Thomson. “This work is to pass onto our younger generation and I think it is overdue. It’s a way of remembering and keeping the stories from my mum, dad and family, and the culture they taught us alive,” she added.
Spirits Of The Land is a work that shares the beliefs and stories from both Aunty Zeta’s lands and broader Aboriginal culture. The storyline includes Mookies, the Ancestor spirits of Country, Hairy Bekka, a creature that teaches children to keep safe, and Min Min lights, malevolent illuminations to avoid.
“Mookie means spirit in Yorta Yorta,” explains Thomson. “In our culture, the old people would sing and clap our sticks or boomerangs together as they walked through the bush to let them (the Spirits) know that they were coming back to visit them again. It is important to strongly represent Victorian Aboriginal culture for people to know these ancient stories.”
Curator and RISING Artistic Associate Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta) said: “It is an honour to work with esteemed Elder Aunty Zeta Thomson and to animate her stories.
Spirits Of The Land is a work that shares belief systems and stories that are not myths or folklore, but very real to First Peoples across the state.”
“These systems of knowledge are part of a network of information that manifest through celestial connections, creatures of the land and waters and a cultural practice that is over 2,000 generations old. This new projection work, which is an extension of her paintings and storytelling practice, is an example of the ever-adapting way First Peoples share art and culture and I’m so excited for it to light up Hamer Hall, celebrating the strong, living First Peoples culture of Victoria.”
Troy Walsh, Executive Director First Nations, Equity and Inclusion added: “Arts Centre Melbourne is incredibly excited to see Aunty Zeta Thomson’s work Spirits Of The Land illuminating Hamer Hall. It’s so important that we acknowledge Victorian Aboriginal culture and find ways to connect the wider public to First Nations communities giving greater visibility to their cultural heritage. We encourage everyone to come down to see it, to learn more about this work and the story it tells of her land and people.”
Victorians are invited to visit every day from sundown to midnight to celebrate Victorian Aboriginal culture, pay respect to Country and to honour its rich history.
The event is FREE and open to all who wish to visit.
About Aunty Zeta Thomson
Aunty Zeta Thomson is a respected Elder and descendant of the Yarra Yarra Clan of the Wurundjeri people through her Ancestor’s Billabilary, his daughter Maria and her son Alexander Briggs, grandfather to Aunty Zeta. She is also a descendant of Barka-Billy,a senior leader and head man of the Ulupna Clan of the Yorta Yorta people whose daughter Theresa Guka-Yarmuk Clements (Aunty Zetas grandmother) passed down cultural knowledge to her family. Aunty Zeta is also a descendant of the Wamba Wamba and Wiradjuri people. She is a renowned artist, culture teacher and advocate for the rights of Aboriginal prisoners in Victoria. She has had a lifetime involvement in Aboriginal affairs, working at a community level, like many of her family members. Aunty Zeta is a storyteller, and her painting and art has been one way to share these stories.
The Electric Canvas
Industry leaders, The Electric Canvas, bring their animation expertise and advanced projection technology to the project. As Australia’s foremost projection mapping specialists, their unique combination of creative and technical disciplines enables them to produce transformative site-specific experiences.
Electric is funded by the Victorian Government and Creative Victoria through the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund.
Arts Centre Melbourne and RISING present
Spirits Of The Land by Aunty Zeta Thomson
Hamer Hall Façade | Wednesday 7 June – Sunday 9 July | Sundown to midnight