kanalaritja: An Unbroken String exhibition offers insight into Aboriginal culture in Tasmania

24/04/2019

Hurstville Museum & Gallery will soon welcome the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s (TMAG) touring exhibition kanalaritja: An Unbroken String, which explores shell-stringing, one of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community’s most culturally significant and closely-guarded customs. 
 
Mayor of Georges River Council Kevin Greene said he is delighted to host this significant exhibition in Hurstville, to help increase awareness of important Aboriginal cultural traditions.   
 
“The exhibition features a variety of beautiful, delicate and rare shell necklaces, created by Tasmanian Aboriginal Ancestors in the 1800s, and acclaimed makers of today,” said Mayor Greene.  
 
“It is an honour to be able to celebrate such significant works at the Hurstville Museum & Gallery, which will also showcase the work of a new wave of stringers who had the opportunity to learn the tradition through the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s luna tunapri, or ‘women’s knowledge’ cultural revitalisation project.” 
 
TMAG has worked with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community since 2010 to facilitate several luna tunapri workshops in which women in the community who had not had shell stringing passed down through their families, were guided through the intricate processes of collecting, cleaning and stringing.  

The women were encouraged to look in their local areas for shell collecting beaches and to use the knowledge shared with them to develop their own distinctive shell stringing styles and new traditions.

The women who participated in the luna tunapri project, aspired to share their journey with the wider public, leading to the creation of kanalaritja: An Unbroken String.

TMAG Director Janet Carding described the exhibition as an unique opportunity to learn about the customs of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. 
 
“Shell-stringing has never before been the focus of a touring exhibition, nor comprehensively documented in a dedicated publication,” said Janet Carding. “kanalaritja: An Unbroken String is a culmination of the journey of cultural renewal, while also celebrating the generations of makers who have sustained this uniquely Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural practice.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a dedicated publication featuring a range of essays and photographs, aiming to build knowledge and provide a definitive account of the unique cultural practice of shell stringing.

Senior Curator of Indigenous Cultures from TMAG, Zoe Rimmer will be a guest speaker at Hurstville Museum and Gallery’s official opening of kanalaritja: An Unbroken String, providing guests with a unique insight and understanding of this exhibition.

This exhibition is supported by the Visions regional touring program, an Australian government program aiming to improve access to cultural material for all Australians. 

Exhibition details 
 
Event: Exhibition opening for kanalaritja: An Unbroken String  
Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Date: Thursday 2 May 2019
Cost: Free
Location: Hurstville Museum & Gallery, 14 MacMahon Street, Hurstville
Guest speaker: Zoe Rimmer, Senior Curator of Indigenous Cultures, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Exhibition timeframe: 3 May 2019 - 14 July 2019