The SKA inspires new Indigenous art
The sheer scale and scientific ambition of the SKA project has long been a source of inspiration for scientists, amateur astronomers and members of the public all around the world. In particular, its presence in the Mid West region of Western Australia has served as a special source of inspiration for a group of Indigenous artists from the region.
For several years, artists from the Yamaji Art Centre in Geraldton, WA, have been creating artworks based on a fusion of traditional stories about the night sky and the cutting edge science of the SKA project. This has become possible because of the special relationship that has developed between the artists and SKA scientists.
'Jupiter and 10 Moons' by Barbara Merritt.
In a recent expedition, a small group of artists joined astronomers from CSIRO and Curtin University at the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory to share stories about stars and the night sky, and to look through telescopes at celestial objects of interest. The collaboration allowed scientists and artists to connect and discuss the importance and meaning of the night sky. Through the sharing of ancient stories, common values were discovered. Potential future discoveries from the giant SKA telescope were also discussed. Inspired by what they heard from the scientists and things they saw through telescopes, the artists produced an impressive range of new paintings.
This project has been captured in a short video showcasing some of the artworks and the traditional Indigenous stories that inspired them. The stories are narrated by some of the Yamaji artists themselves.
The Australian SKA Office wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Yamaji Art Centre (Mara Art Aboriginal Corporation), CSIRO and Curtin University.