Dead Car Dreaming: Return of the Rainbow Serpent at ALIF Riad

Dead Car Dreaming: Return of the Rainbow Serpent
Michael Wright exhibiting photos & mixed media of a sojourn in search of the Rainbow Serpent to Central Australia

Opening Friday, Oct. 21 at 6 PM, continuing though Oct. 29, 4-6 PM daily.
ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha, Fes Medina


“In early August 2008, I was invited by the Aboriginal Elders of the Gumbynggira clan from the north coast of NSW to accompany them on a Sojourn to the desert region of Central Australia. Our quest was to invite a group of senior Anangu custodians to bring the Wanampi (Rainbow Serpent) Imma (Dance) across to the east coast of Australia and to then perform this dance.

We drove 2,400 km from Bellingen (a little coastal town about 6 hours drive north of Sydney) to the centre of Australia and it took days of 10 hours straight driving to cover this vast distance. The landscape changed from tropical on the coast to farmland and then to desert. The kaleidoscope of colour was a little overwhelming at times. I had little opportunity to sketch any of the landscape, as our driver was on a mission. But I did manage to take a few photos.

What caught my eye as we drove along the mainly deserted back roads was the number of old abandoned cars on the side of the road. Left where they broke down, often too hard to repair and too far to be towed to the next settlement. These cars had been pushed off the road by the local road maintenance crew, and then left for the scavengers, the elements of fire, rain and the very cold of winter to mold them gently into the landscape. These “Dead Cars” I loved, they could all tell stories of travels of hope and dreams of their various owners. If only we knew the language of the car whisperer. If so, we too could enter their dreaming. During this time, I was pleased that our driver stopped to let me take a few photos of these twisted lumps of metal to show at a later date to like-minded people who understand the importance of the Sojourn. Eventually, we met up with the Elders, custodians of the Rainbow Serpent. They accepted our request and agreed to perform their sacred dance at the Bellingen Global Festival, which is held annually in October. This whole process of the Sojourn and Global Festival was just fantastic for me.

Here in this installation, I am attempting via photo-mixed media imagery to show a few moments of my Sojourn to central Australia and back to the coast over a two-week period. What was the highlight for me? To see Ayres Rock (Uluru), The Olgas (Kata Tjuta), the desert, great herds of wild camels, the cold starkness of the desert at night, the deep steel blue of the desert sky and my first meeting and interaction with the Desert Elders. The friendship I made with my three travel companions. The chance to be part of making history, the joy of being able to take many photos to share. I feel all of these were a blending together of many wonderful states. This to me was the Rainbow Serpent in action.”

Michael J. Wright – Sydney, October 2016
Studio of Objective Art, Australia

For enquiries contact the artist
Phone: ‪+612 9818 5495‬

This exhibition is organized by the ALC-ALIF Photography Club

ALC ALIF Film Club: The Revenant

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.


Who: ALC & ALIF and university students
When: October 21 at 3:00 pm
Where: ALC Room Six