Experience Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia through a performance by the Dhamu-Koedal performance group live at the Singapore Courtyard!

Dhamu-Koedal is a family-performing group from Badhu Island in the Zendth Kes (Torres Strait), and led by cultural leader Alick Tipoti (Maluilgal nation, Kala Lagaw Ya people). Dhamu-Koedal is all about storytelling with the aim of language preservation through songs and dance. 

All songs and performances are composed and choreographed by the group’s father, Alick Tipoti, and preserved by his family through presentations and promotions as a key element of cultural practice continuity. 

All stories told by Dhamu-Koedal are based on spiritual cultural connections to the land, sea and sky. This spiritual connection allows us to express how we all should look after the natural environment we are placed within. 

The performance consists of five scenes: 

Acknowledging the Winds through the blowing of the Bu shells
The trumpet shells are blown to acknowledge the winds we originate from, the air space we live in, the wind paths that clears the airway of the Zenadth Kes islands, and the air we breathe. 

Travel by spiritual canoe—Paddle Dance
Our ancestors are spiritual people. They travel in spirit through natural elements such as rains winds, stars, clouds, thunders, lightening, rainbows and whirlwinds. As spiritual beings, they travel by large canoes. To acknowledge our spiritual ancestors, we sing in our language and perform on our spiritual canoe. 

Magical spiritual charms—Dugong Charm Dance
Our ancient culture has many elements of magic. We perform actions to acknowledge those practices of the past. We sing of magical charms once used by our forefathers. 

Star constellation connection
Our star constellation is the Zugubaw Baydham (spiritual ancestral shark). This can be seen when you face to the north. It consists of many stars, with the seven chief stars forming the shape of a shark. 

This star constellation is one of our cultural guides to our weather patterns. 

Engaging our audience—sitting down performances
The apaniyay sagulal are a friendly gesture to allow audience to join in learning and performing the actions to the songs. By sharing the experience through dance, this is how we connect with other cultures. The two performances are based on Wana (spinning top) and Wame (string game).

About the Exhibition

Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia surveys historical and contemporary works by over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia—the largest exhibition of its kind to travel to Asia. Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art, the artworks show deep interconnections between past and present, as well as extraordinary artistic innovation.

Ever Present is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, which has made a significant contribution to the development of global modern and contemporary art. Yet it also grapples with Australia’s complex histories. Art emerges as a tool of resistance, asserting deep connections to Country, as well as using wit and satire to confront viewers and encourage conversations about critical issues in the world today. The works challenge stereotypes about First Nations people and what defines their art.

The National Gallery Singapore respects the diverse points of view of all artists and speakers in this exhibition. The views and perspectives expressed by them are their own and may not reflect the position of National Gallery Singapore. 

For more information on the exhibition and upcoming programmes, visit: <a href="https://www.nationalgallery.sg/everpresent" title="https://www.nationalgallery.sg/everpresent“>https://www.nationalgallery.sg/everpresent. 

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