The SKA international project is proud to present Shared Sky, its international indigenous art/astronomy exhibition.
After its inauguration in Perth, Western Australia in September 2014, the Shared Sky exhibition has now travelled to South Africa and was inaugurated in Africa at the prestigious Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town on 13 February 2015. The South African Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, officially opened the exhibition in the presence of distinguished guests, officials from various embassies and some of the artists who have contributed to Shared Sky.
Shared Sky is presented in South Africa in collaboration with curator Sandra Prosalendis, exhibition designer Elsabe Gelderblom and Carol Kaufmann, Curator of African Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town.
Shared Sky stems from a vision by the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) to bring together under one sky Aboriginal Australian and South African artists in a collaborative exhibition celebrating humanity’s ancient cultural wisdom. This vision embodies the spirit of the international science and engineering collaboration that is the SKA project itself, bringing together many nations around two sites in Australia and South Africa to study the same sky.
It reflects the richness of the artist’s ancestor’s understanding of the world developed across countless generations observing the movements of the night sky. Shared Sky explores how this sophisticated understanding of celestial mechanics resonates in the work of living artists that are sharing their insights with scientists working to unlock the secrets of the Universe.
Understanding what sustains the rhythms and patterns of the world around us continues to be one of humankind’s most enduring fascinations. The movement of objects across the night sky has been a profound source of inspiration for artists since time immemorial. The desire to understand has informed creation myths and stories amongst human populations across the globe for countless generations. It is what has inspired both groups of artists in this exhibition, and what drives the large international teams of scientists and engineers developing one of the world’s greatest scientific endeavours in Australia and South Africa: the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project.
SKA South Africa has collaborated with Professor John Parkington, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, and the First People Centre of the Bethesda Arts Centre to capture the impressions of the indigenous San populations of the Karoo. In Western Australia, the Yamaji and other Aboriginal artists who have created artworks for Shared Sky are descendants of, or connected to, the Wajarri people that until the mid-19th century were still living a largely traditional way of life, hunting and gathering on the land that is now the site of the Australian SKA.