From Collections to Connections: Insights from a Curatorial/ Web Content Intern

Hello, Mariko here again – this is my second week back at the museum and I’m already a quarter of the way through my internship (!).

So far, I’ve caught up with the lovely people here at Wharf 7 (where curatorial is based) and met new people in the main museum building (where web content development is located).  I also have been taking full advantage of the museum’s great harbourside location – having lunch outside in the sunshine on the Wharf 7 balcony, right next to the James Craig (being an intern sure is a tough gig).

Besides the dazzling social life and scenic views, things have been pretty busy here in curatorial, as well as for the museum generally. I’ve been “hot-desking” around the curatorial section, as we have a work experience student here this week working with the Australian naval history collection. Also, staff are gearing up for the opening of AQUA: A Journey into the World of Water this week, and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into this sensational and very thought-provoking exhibition.

After leaving AQUA, I made my way through the Eora First People gallery – this is a core gallery showing a small selection of the museum’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural material. It presents a broad and diverse range of the various Indigenous communities the museum works with from across the country. This is much like my internship project’s selection of Indigenous artists.

Eora First People gallery

Eora First People gallery (Andrew Frolows, ANMM photographer)

For instance, Lola Greeno and the Saltwater collection artists – who are part of my internship project and also have work on display in Eora First People – come from different parts of Australia, and express their connections to the local water environments in a variety of ways. Lola Greeno is a Tasmanian Aboriginal artist from the Bass Strait region, and her works include intricate shell necklaces and water carriers made with sea kelp. The Saltwater collection artists are Yolgnu people who create bark paintings, which form detailed maps of the saltwater country and related law in northern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

In preparation for updating the museum’s internal object and maker records, I have been carrying out in-depth research on the artists and their works. This involves learning more about the Indigenous experiences, histories and knowledges that the artists had carried through into their work. Through this project, I hope to incorporate these themes into the records, so the works are seen as more than merely artistic or ethnographic objects of study.

On that note, I must get back to the research. Next time you’ll hear from me will be in mid-December.

Cheers,
Mariko.

PS: If you missed my last post, you can read it here.

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