Aboriginal elder exorcises Australian embassy

16th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - Australia's embassy in Paris has been cleansed of evil spirits through a smoke ceremony conducted by an Aboriginal elder flown in especially to "protect" people viewing a new indigenous art exhibition.

PARIS, June 16 (AFP) - Australia's embassy in Paris has been cleansed of evil spirits through a smoke ceremony conducted by an Aboriginal elder flown in especially to "protect" people viewing a new indigenous art exhibition.  

Journalists and guests watched late Wednesday as Pansy Nugit chanted over a small fire lit in the centre of the embassy's large lobby where the exhibition was taking place, while her niece, Rachel White, sprinkled water on the flames to fill the space with smoke.  

"This is to scare away the spirits, make sure they don't come into your nightmares," Nugit told AFP, her face dotted with traditional white paint.  

The ceremony, presented by ambassador Penelope Wensley, marked the opening of the "Mamaa: The Untouchable Ones" exhibition of paintings by the Ngarinyin aboriginal tribe from northwest Australia's remote Kimberley Ranges.  

According to the tribe's beliefs, spirits represented in the works can haunt the dreams of people who see them unless they are warded off with the smoke ritual.  

The Australian embassy was hosting the exhibition to draw attention to the contribution of Aboriginal works to a new museum of primitive art from different countries that France is building nearby.  

The Quai Branly Museum, to open early next year, will feature hundreds of Aboriginal paintings and artefacts and incorporates works by eight Aboriginal artists in its design.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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