South Australian Museum staff member John Carty trying out the Bush Mechanics’ Driver Simulator which will feature in Newcastle Museum's Bush Mechanics exhibition
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Aboriginal ingenuity and culture celebrated at Newcastle Museum

The culture, skills, and adaptability of Australia’s First Nations people are being showcased in two exhibitions currently on display at Newcastle Museum.

The first Bush Mechanics: The Exhibition is a celebration of the popular ABC series Bush Mechanics created by David Batty and Francis Jupurrurla Kelly.

The series melded the mechanical resourcefulness of Central Australia’s Walpiri men with upbeat humour and the exhibition will explore the importance of the car in the outback while providing valuable insights into the life and culture of the Warlpiri people.

The exhibition, from the National Motor Museum, will feature an EH Holden they cut the roof off to use as a makeshift trailer, a Ford Fairlane adorned in a water-dreaming painting and a driver-simulator cobbled from random machinery and a computer monitor.

Specially commissioned art, displays showing their “nyurulypa” (good bush tricks) and an augmented reality app that explains the Ford Fairlane painting, will also bring an interactive angle to proceedings.

A second exhibition, Cultural Resurgence, presented in conjunction with Hunter-based organisation Speaking In Colour, will showcase woven and possum skin works created by local Aboriginal community groups including the Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Lands Council, the Awabakal Elders Group and various school groups with both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

“These projects are not about the ‘artworks’ you see, they are about the ceremony of connectivity, relationality, and cultural strengthening,” Speaking In Colour managing director Cherie  Johnson said.

“Our hope is that the wider population get to witness and come to know these ceremonies in action.  

“Over the course of this exhibition the cloaks and other items may go come and go, this demonstrates cultural revitalisation in action, as the objects now have a life and purpose of their own.”

Both Bush Mechanics and Cultural Resurgence are free and on display at Newcastle Museum until Saturday 30 May.

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Written by Newcastle Live

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