On Tuesday 29 May, six years after the inauguration of the new permanent exhibition dedicated to Australia within the Anima Mundi Museum, the Vatican Museums will present “Australia. The Vatican Museums indigenous collection”, curated by Katherine Aigner, the third catalogue in the series of texts on the ethnological collections of the Pope’s Museums, available in Italian and English, and co-published by Edizioni Musei Vaticani and Aboriginal Studies Press.
The volume begins with the history of the creation of the Collection, which now comprises around 300 pieces whose origins date back to the first donations made to Pius IX by the Aborigines of Australia. The culture of the faraway continent is examined in its multiple aspects through contributions from authoritative scholars of diverse cultural extraction, and each individual part of the catalogue has been produced in close contact with the aboriginal communities, in accordance with the philosophy of “reconnection” that characterizes both the recent history of the oceanic territory, and the section of the Vatican Museums that houses the ethnological collections.
Indeed, “reconnection” is the key word of this publication, innovative within its genre, and it is the concept around which the process has developed that has allowed the works to be reconnected with their communities of origin, creating a form of intergenerational dialogue from which entirely current themes have emerged, dear also to Pope Francis, such as the importance of the earth, the law and culture, and the conservation of cultural heritage.
The Anima Mundi Museum is not currently accessible to the public as important renovation works are being carried out, but some works from the Australian Aboriginal Collection will be exceptionally on view on the occasion of the catalogue presentation.