05 October 2013–08 December 2013
South Australian Museum Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery and Flinders Universty City Gallery (State Library of South Australia)
This exhibition looks at the enduring significance of spinifex to Aboriginal Australia. It draws on ethnographic material culture, historic photographs and contemporary works of art.
The exhibition presents spinifex in its material form, as a subject and as a marker of identity, while also flagging non-Indigenous interests in this perennial grass.
Spinifex (Triodia sp.) is a tough, spiky, tussock grass that covers more than 20% of the Australian continent. It thrives in poor soils and provides a habitat for reptiles, birds and small mammals, and defines much of the country’s arid landscape.
Traditionally, spinifex has been an important resource for Aboriginal people, foremost as a source of resin and as a building material for windbreaks and shelters. It also has medicinal and combustive uses, and many other innovative applications.
This is a collaborative project between the South Australian Museum and Flinders University, presented at both sites. The Flinders University City Gallery is located on the Ground Floor of the State Library of South Australia.