Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese inaugurated the immersive Walking through a Songline exhibition, held at The Factory Phnom Penh and organised by the Australian embassy to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the Kingdom.
Albanese was in town for the ASEAN Summit and related meetings and took the opportunity to visit the exhibition and preside over its opening as the guest of honour along with Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistanct Authority (CMAA), as well as Matthew Trinca, director of the National Museum of Australia.
The exhibition uses over 300 paintings and photographs, objects, songs, dances and multimedia displays to narrate the Australian indigenous Aboriginal people’s legend of the Seven Sisters and their creation of the Australian continent as they travelled from west to east.
This immersive multimedia installation will be open to the public, free of charge, from November 14 until December 11, from 8am to 7pm at the venue.
Museum director Trinca described the installation to The Post.
“Walking through a Songline is an immersive multimedia installation that introduces visitors to the seven sisters story, one of the grand epic narratives of the Aboriginal people of western and central Australia. Songlines or dreaming tracks, map the routes of ancestral beings as they travelled across Australia, creating the land and its people,” he said.
He expressed his delight at the presence of the Australian prime minister at the launch, saying: “We were delighted that Walking Through a Songline is here in Phnom Penh and was opened by the Prime Minister Albanese, in connection with the ASEAN Summit.”
“The story of the Seven Sisters is being generously shared with the people of Cambodia through this exhibition by the Aboriginal peoples of western and central Australia who are the keepers of this epic narrative. It is an opportunity for the people of this country to learn more about the stories and experiences of the First Nations of the Australian continent,” he said.
According to a November 13 press release by the Australian embassy, the exhibition is a chance for all Australians and Cambodians to reflect on the journey of their bilateral relationship over the last 70 years, as well as what can be done in the next 70 and beyond.
Ly Thuch expressed his warm welcome to the Australian prime minister, the ambassador Pablo Kang and all of the assembled guests.
“I am pleased to say that this year that we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic bilateral relations between Cambodia and Australia. I am pleased to note that in recent years, our cooperation and friendly relationship has been diversified and greatly enhanced in many areas, for the mutual benefit of the two countries,” said Thuch.
He added that Australia played an important role in contributing to global socio-economic development and promoting peace and security, while combating climate change. In Cambodia in particular, Australia had made a significant contribution in the early stages of the Kingdom’s journey towards peace in the early 1990s, with its leading role in the UNTAC mission.
“I welcome this exhibition as an opportunity for Cambodians and Australians to reflect on the two country’s relationship over the last 70 years and the next 70 years,” he said.