Stiff Gins band member Nardi Simpson reflects on the group's time in our Indigenous collections as part of the 'Spirit of Things' project.
The Spirit of Things - Sound of Objects' is a research, history, arts and cultural project that explores residual and embedded stories and songs retained in Aboriginal cultural material. The projects creators (known as The Spirit of Things Collective) will sit with objects held in the Australian Museum and listen as they tell their story. They will then interpret those sounds into song and image and release them into the world where again they can breathe and speak.
So after a whirlwind three days I can sit in my living room and look back on what was probably one the most rewarding creative periods of my life. We started two years back with this crazy idea.
We talked and hoped and dreamed about making it happen, about what it would feel like, how it would unfold and how important it would be for us individually and as a collective. These three short days have lived up to all those projections and much, much more.
I have sat with pearl shell necklaces from WA, spear throwers from far north QLD and boomerangs from my own country. I opened a door to a dialogue with all of them, I have learned how to listen, heard them speak and now look forward to the next period of making them once again sing.
My lasting impression is of stories, of breath and personality that is engrained in each of the things that picked us, and we held. Belonging to people of so different a time and custom that is difficult at times to relate but now, after having words and stories and feelings and visions of them and their life, we are forever connected.
In deep and meaningful ways that transmute time and transform understanding. And soon we will sing that connection and bring it to others to enjoy as well.
And if people shake their heads and dismiss the possibility of these skilfully crafted, lovingly used things of wood and bark and shell and stone speaking to us we know we can always reply: as it happened in the past, so is it spoken now.
All our love and respect, honour and great thanks to your spirit and your sound.
~ Nardi Simpson, The Spirit of Things Collective.