The installation ran for over 12 months and was designed, spatially and conceptually, to provide visitors with a journey of discovery and revelation of the life and continuing traditions of the Ngarinyin people of the Kimberley plateau in north-west Australia.
The central focus is Ngarinyin knowledge of, and connection to, the ancient rock art inscribed across their traditional lands. Importantly, the Ngarinyin speak for themselves in their own country.
The Pathway Project is a collaborative project instigated by leading Ngarinyin elders who invited artist and filmmaker Jeff Doring to help document their knowledge for future generations.
The exhibition design was created in collaboration with Freeman Ryan Design, Australia’s leading museum and gallery design agency.
Ngarinyin Pathways Dulwan comprises four discrete yet interlinked elements through which visitors can move at their own pace.
Two synchonised DVDs present uninterpreted images of Ngarinyin lands and the creative ancestral Wanjina spirits. The images float in space on either side of the visitor – it is as if we are walking across country, looking about.
This is the core of the installation. It comprises a large panoramic screen presenting synchronised media from three sources. Visitors sit, watch and listen as the Ngarinyin munnumburra (lawmen) speak about the law, land and knowledge, cosmology and ceremony.
The longer we sit, watch and listen, the more we are able to begin an understanding of Ngarinyin culture.
The art painted in the caves and escarpments across the country plays a key role in explaining the social history of the people, how their technology arose and where the law came from.
This is a single rear-projection screen suspended within a structure reminiscent of the spatial sense of a sandstone overhang. Here, specific explanations about the rock art figures and the different epochs of the Gwion and Wanjina are provided by the munnumburra.
04 Study Area
Sitting at a specially commissioned table using light boxes to display key images of land, water and culture, visitors can browse copies of the book ‘Gwion Gwion’ and explore an interactive providing access to interpretation of the media they have witnessed in the exhibition.
gary warner 2012
exhibition design liaison
technical systems design
July 1999 — July 2002