Warlpiri Star Gazers
Aboriginal art is closely identified with astute observations of the land and the attributes of the natural world. This includes knowledge of water resources, native plants and animals as food sources, seasons and changes in habitat. Aboriginal people have great traditional skills at tracking and reading the land for signs that help in the task of living off the land.
Equally knowledge of the skies and of the stars assists in understanding the cycles of change seen in the natural world. This knowledge was critical for understanding how the calendar year and cycle of seasons was progressing. There is a direct correlation in Aboriginal world between the stars and the food cycle on the land. Much of this knowledge is captured in the songs and ceremonies passed down through generations, and in the contemporary Aboriginal paintings.
Warlpiri speaking people of the Tanami Desert shared in these ancient cultural traditions. Their paintings of the Jukurrpa or Dreaming law depicted all aspects of this knowledge, including Water Dreaming, Star Dreaming, Emu Dreaming, and a host of other Jukurrpa. These law stories are passed down along family lines with set custodial hierarchies.
The current exhibition captures some of the range of Warlpiri Jukurrpa Dreaming stories from artists of Nyirripi and Yuendumu, covering the natural world from the sky to the land. The exhibition runs from 21st November through to January 2015.
Paintings include combined works by the men’s and women’s groups that show the interconnected custodial ties of the traditional owners.