Yiwarra Kuju opened officially at the Australian Museum in its brand new temporary exhibition space on the 17th December 2011, with a small VIP opening on the 15th. Canning Stock Route Project translator and cultural advisor Putuparri Tom Lawford, filmmaker Curtis Taylor and co-curators Monique La Fontaine and John Carty travelled to Sydney for the opening and spent a few days guiding staff and guests through the exhibition. Following a tour of Yiwarra Kuju one inspired Sydney visitor made the following observation:
I have only ever known the Canning Stock Route as disputed native title asset; as a reportedly desirable adventure tourism location; and as the subject of National Party jokes. Today’s experience was moving and enlightening. During 2011 we have visited some of the most celebrated museums and archaelogical sites in Europe. None was more impressive than your exhibition. You have created an irresistible combination of breathtaking art, compelling narrative and captivating displays. You have enabled the story of the Stock Route’s creation to be given the attention and notoriety it deserves. Among other things, unexpectedly the traditional owners’ loss provides a unique opportunity for ordinary people (like me) to understand better Aboriginal art through the various depictions of the Stock Route in its landscape.
Wiradjuri elder Jimmy Smith also accompanied the Canning Stock Route Project team on many of these exhibition tours and now takes over as the official guide for Yiwarra Kuju in Sydney. Bookings for Jimmy’s tours Yiwarra Kuju can be made on the Australian Museum website. Yiwarra Kuju shows in Sydney until 29 April 2012.