Edward Blitner - Freshwater Billabongs
20 July – 29 Aug 2018
Edward Blitner believes that maintaining the ancient crafts of his forefathers is an important role for artists to take on. The traditions of Arnhem land art are embedded in the rich rock art galleries of the sandstone country, where artists have been overlaying their images for thousands of years. This history goes beyond changes in climate and animal populations, a record of life in the región that connects modern Aboriginal inhabitants to their ancestors.
Edward Blitner paints with dexterity, creating the fine cross hatching and flowing animal forms that typify his painting style. Blitner uses the traditional earth colours that are found in the rock art sites, and ocassionally adds small amounts of colour to wáter lilies or other bush plants.
The artist brings alive the freshwater billabong country that is the source of his people’s survival over the meillenia. The fish, birds, reptiles that are central to the ecosystem are all in constant movement through the shallow swamp country. As well as brolgas, barramundi, turtles, goannas, crocodiles and magpie geese, there are images of mimih spirits and the Rainbow Serpent, the custodian of wáter and life in this country.
The story of Yingana and Ngalyod describes the Creation forces at work in the form of the two Rainbow Serpent figures, who brought the country and its inhabitants into being. The Creation era stories gives meaning to the people and all the living forms in this country.
Edward Blitner’s exhibition ‘Freshwater Billabongs’ is on display at Japingka Gallery until 29 August 2018.