Boo! Aboriginal ghost stories and other scary matter

Exhibition Dates: 25 February – 23 April 2016


Most religious and mythological traditions around the world possess their own supernatural entities. Australia too has its own spooky spirits which are located within Aboriginal knowledge and culture. Mamu (Pitjantjatjara), Mulyawongk (Ngarrindjeri), and Jerrewarrah (Bundjalung) are such mythological entities and who’s to say that other stories developed from artists’ minds are less real than stories of history.

Boo! Aboriginal ghost stories and other scary matter is a new exhibition of Aboriginal art presented by Tandanya in association with Adelaide Festival that looks to mythological creatures within traditional knowledge systems and contemporary stories of dark matter, including surveillance, omnipresence and spiritual disembodiment.

The exhibition is an opportunity to situate Aboriginal mythologies into the Australian vernacular and for Australians to re-imagine their place of residence as a place rich in story. This includes dark stories that function to keep people safe from harm – not dissimilar to the imported heritage of nursery rhymes and fables, or even Halloween celebrations and Day of the Dead.

Boo! curator Troy-Anthony Baylis, who is of the Jawoyn people, says “This project is led, created and storied by Aboriginal artists, writers and thinkers and is an opportunity for Aboriginal peoples to share stories and express ideas from an Aboriginal knowledge position”.

Boo! is not a survey exhibition of Aboriginal ghost mythologies that are important part of many Aboriginal nations“ he continues, “rather the exhibition draws upon metaphor and highlights the stories of five leading Aboriginal artists: Bronwyn Bancroft (NSW), Destiny Deacon (VIC), Joel Birnie (VIC), Nura Rupert (SA), and Jacob Stengle (SA). Each artist explores the exhibition themes in unique, exciting, and ground-breaking ways. Much like a research project, they present new knowledge, ideas, and create discourse through their work.”

To accompany Boo! Aboriginal ghost stories and other scary matter, Tandanya is producing an exhibition catalogue featuring leading Aboriginal thinkers who will be commissioned to write about the individual artists contribution to the exhibition.

The works being exhibited at Tandanya include of a range of materials including photography, painting, digital film and video, printmaking, and installation.

Aboriginal ghost stories and other scary matter

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