Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia

16 August 2017

Photo of Djalu Gurruwiwi and the words: Yidaki, Didjeridu and the sound of Australia.
Djalu Gurruwiwi, Yolngu Elder. (Credit: Alex Robertson)
  • Sector: Arts and Culture
  • Country location: Japan
  • Grantee: National Museum of Australia (partnering with the South Australian Museum)

Project description

Yidaki: Didjeridu and the Sound of Australia is an immersive exhibition exploring the iconic didjeridu through sound, story, moving images and treasured objects. The cultural custodians, the Yolngu people, guide you through the meaning, power and cultural significance of the didjeridu, known to them as yidaki. The National Museum of Australia and South Australian Museum will tour Yidaki to Japan in 2018.

Didjeridu is the iconic sound of Australia, an instrument played by Aboriginal people and musicians worldwide. Yet for its fame and familiarity, little is known about the instrument itself. Yidaki is a world-first exhibition, taking audiences on a journey into the origins of Australian music.

SAM holds the world’s most important public collection of historic yidaki. This exhibition brings those instruments to life through a creative collaboration with the world’s foremost authority on yidaki – Djalu Gurruwiwi. For Djalu and the Yolngu people, didjeridu are yidaki – not just musical instruments, but social instruments, instruments of healing, and spiritual life. They are the enduring heartbeat of one of the world’s oldest musical traditions. The exhibition embeds beautiful objects within a stringybark forest, illuminating the beauty of the Australian landscape and showcasing the unique cultural heritage assets of this nation.

Key dates

  • Exhibition launch, Echigo-Tsumari, Japan, 12 July 2018
  • Public programs, Echigo-Tsumari, Japan, 13 to 15 July 2018
  • Exhibition, Echigo-Tsumari, Japan, 12 July 2018 to 10 September 2018
  • Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program grant offer: $60,000 plus $6,000 GST
  • Australia-Japan Foundation grant offer: $30,000 plus $3,000 GST
  • Total project value: $902,000

Last Updated: 16 August 2017