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11 July 2006

A spectacular collection of ceremonial masks and headdresses from the Torres Strait and an exhibition looking at the work of Goolarri Media Enterprises in Broome go on show at the National Museum in Canberra this week.

Dhari a Krar, which means 'headdresses and masks' in the western Strait language of Kala Lagaw Ya, and Goolarri: The sounds of Broome both open in the Gallery of First Australians as part of the Museum's NAIDOC celebrations.

Goolarri: The sounds of Broome looks at the successful Aboriginal owned and run media organisation, established in Western Australian in 1991. The exhibition is housed in a re-created red, corrugated iron studio.

Dhari a Krar brings together a diverse collection of masks, headdresses and dance objects dating from the mid-1800s to the present.

National Museum Director Craddock Morton said both new exhibitions were part of an ongoing program of gallery redevelopment and illustrated the diversity and the strong, continuing presence of Australian indigenous culture.

'Torres Strait masks and headdresses are spectacular creations, rich in meaning and imagery, which have great historical significance and remain important to the people of the Torres Strait today,' Mr Morton said. 'Goolarri's commitment to giving the people of Broome a voice is a good news story and proof positive that traditional language, music and culture can thrive alongside contemporary artistic expression.'

Highlights of Dhari a Krar include a stunning triple hammerhead shark headdress by the artist Ken Thaiday Senior and a vivid Mawa witchdoctor mask made by the artist Allson Edrick Tabui. A number of rare masks collected in the mid to late 1800s are also on show.

Goolarri: The sounds of Broome offers visitors the choice of watching a variety of television programs about the region, and the chance to test their ability as radio announcer by announcing a record or reading a weather forecast.

The National Museum has a full program of NAIDOC activities during the school holidays, including a series of sell-out workshops with Torres Strait Islander artists, an indigenous short film festival and the second annual didjeridu competition.
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