of earth & sky

Artefact by Frances Rings breathes life back into Aboriginal objects that represent the continuum of practices that date back thousands of years.



Artefact looks at the value in these cultural objects and the stories that they hold. Each artefact is respected for the story it tells in reconnecting people with their traditional culture and heritage. Expressed through striking design and theatrical elements, Artefact is a powerful dance theatre work.

This production features the First Nations languages Pitjantjatjara (Central Australia) and Yolngu Matha (Dhuwa) (North East Arnhem Land).

Sections of Artefact

Museum - This possum skin once kept a family warm, children, an old man. It was an essential part of their lives and now it’s packed away behind glass in a museum.
String Bag - Made by rolling and weaving string, these bags once held food, fruit, yams and babies – they were once full, and now they’re empty.
Grinding Stone - We were inspired not only by the friction of the grinding stone as they are being used, but by the rhythms they created – and the power and energy that builds from the labour. That helped evolve the story around grinding stone.
Body - In our history the pursuit of science has sometimes been responsible for the unethical and degradatory treatment of our Indigenous peoples.
Coolamun - Depending on where they lived the women might have only had a coolamon and digging stick and the men a spear and woomera but what few objects they did have were highly valued and held great spiritual meaning and a connection to their ancestors.
Weaving - inspired by the meditative state weaving produces, the calm, the timelessness that women feel when they are silent together, weaving.

Duration: 40 minutes

Artefact premiered in 2010 as part of the double bill of earth & sky, which included Riley and Artefact.





Premiere Season: Australian Tour | 2010

Sydney Season | 2012