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National Museum of Australia | 27 May to 18 September 2022 | Free

See First Nations objects from the National Museum of Australia's collection alongside a newly commissioned range of appliances featuring stunning designs from contemporary artists in An Aboriginal Culinary Journey: Designed for Living.

Part of the Breville Art Series, this exhibition is a partnership between First Nations peoples, Breville and the National Museum of Australia, producing objects for the heart of the home that celebrate contemporary design and reflect 65,000 years of ongoing Indigenous culture. This exhibition will tour internationally from late 2022.

Introduction to An Aboriginal Culinary Journey 2:32

Featuring Margo Ngawa Neale, Senior Indigenous Curator and Alison Page, Curator, Breville Art Series

Alison Page, Breville Art Series Curator, Walbanga and Wadi Wadi peoples:

We’re applying a story and meaning to the objects that people use every day.

For some 2,000 generations Australian Aboriginal people have been gathering around campfires to prepare and cook food. They have used various tools and appliances. These include boomerangs for bringing down game, coolamons for collecting bulbs, grains and small game. Fire sticks were used to light fires for cooking, and containers were made from bark or seaweed (kelp) to carry water, while grinding stones were used to make bread from seeds and to crush berries and other plants.

Exhibition highlights

Slideshow

Bull kelp water carriers and wirrauwa (bark bucket) with the  Breville Toast Select Luxe featuring Place of many seeds ready for grinding by Lucy Simpson

Boomerangs with the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine, featuring Women’s ceremonies at Marrapinti by Yukultji (Nolia) Napangati

Today Aboriginal people, like most Australians, like to stock up on labour-saving devices, which have largely replaced traditional tools. But their purpose remains the same. People still gather in kitchens to toast their breads, grind their coffee beans, and prepare refreshments for family and friends. These modern hearths and ‘campfires’ are also where different cultures meet.

Wrapped in Country, these once ordinary appliances have become cultural ambassadors, not unlike the Aboriginal paintings that adorn the walls of people’s homes. They act like doorways to Indigenous knowledges, giving insights into our continuing connection to Country.

Lucy Simpson, designer and maker, Yuwaalaraay woman 3:34

Partnership

Dr Mathew Trinca AM, Director of the National Museum of Australia:

Partnerships strengthen and broaden the work of the Museum. We are delighted to partner with Breville on An Aboriginal Culinary Journey, a project that shares Australia’s 65,000 years of Indigenous culture in a modern-day context.

Adjunct Professor Margo Ngawa Neale, Senior Indigenous Curator and Principal Advisor, National Museum of Australia

Living in the heart of people's homes these once ordinary appliances, now wrapped in Country, become cultural ambassadors.
Silhouettes of people against in a field, some bent over with branches.

Still from Women’s ceremonies at Marrapinti, performed by the Pintupi people of Western Australia, filmed by Alison Page

Read the Museum's media release on An Aboriginal Culinary Journey

Acknowledgements

Breville is donating 100 per cent of its profits from the collection to the National Indigenous Culinary Institute of Australia, Indi Kindi by the Moriarty Foundation and other initiatives supporting the creation of opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Logo for National Museum of Australia.Logo for Breville.

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