Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Here is our last artist of the 2015-2016 school year!! 
Calendar is at the bottom of post!  


All aboriginal art is an expression of Aboriginal Dreaming. Traditionally, Aboriginal people from central Australia used sand and body painting combined with song, dance and story. Aboriginal music plays a strong role in Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal people 'sing their country' in ceremony that combines song, dance and art. Each Dreaming has an associated song, and paintings should be seen in the context of the song and dance that accompanied the production of that work. 

  Photograph of Paddy Stewart Japaljarri, 1995

Artist, Paddy is standing in front of the community art center of Yuendumu.  Paddy is from Mugapunju, just south of Yuendumu.  When he was a young man, he was a station worker at Mt. Allen and Mt. Dennison.  He worked as a chef in Papunya, hence his nickname  "Cookie".  He has lived for a very long time in Yuendumu.  Cookie worked at the Yuendumu School teaching young kids, both non aboriginal and aboriginal culture (kardiya and yapa). He's taught painting, dreaming (jukurrpa), tracking (dingo, kangaroo, goanna, etc..), how to make wax for the sand painting, dancing, making boomerangs and many other important cultural traditions. 

He has been drawing and painting for a long time, including work on the Yuendumu School doors which he was commissioned to do in 2000.  He produced 30 etchings of the original Yuendumu Doors in collaboration with Paddy Sims under the guidance of Basil Hall. Northern Editions Printmaker (Northern Territory University). 

He also has served as the chairman for the Warlukurlangu Artists Committee. In 1988, his work received world wide acclaim when he was selected by The Power Gallery, Sydney University , to travel to Paris with five other men from Yuendumu to created a ground painting installation at the exhibition "Magiciens de la Terre" at the centre Georges Pompidou.  The trip took place in May 1989.

 Photo of Pansy Napangarti, Alice Springs, 1994

Many of the Australian Aboriginal artist are women.  Many people believe that the patterns and symbols used in this art are  "random" and/or "abstract", however it is usually well structured with may recognizable symbols used to represent men, women, babies, creatures both in their daily lives and mythical traditions, along with features of their country. 

Pansy is painting in her back yard. Pansy is from Papunya, West of Alice Springs, Central Australia and was known as one of the leading foremost women artist of Papunya Tula Artists. Pansy has exhibited her works from 1988-1992. Notice Pansy's paint tin contains both white and yellow paint, used in her distinctive half-tone dotting style. Pansy's work is meticulously dotted, often taking many hours or even days of intense concentration to execute a painting. Her Dreamings include: Bush Banana, Water Snake, Kangaroo, Cockatoo, and Bush Mangoe from her Father's side, and Two women, Seen Sisters, Hail and Desert Raisin from her Mother's side. 

 Carpet snake Dreaming, 1987, by Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri

This dreaming is near Ylpana, or Mt. Denison.  This is an important dreaming site to men of Tjungurrayi/japaltjarri skins.  The carpet snake is seen encircling his home, the central circles.  Men perform ceremonies here today.  The linked background circles are of symbolic meaning and used as body paint designs during ceremonies.  Billy was born in 1927 and is one of Central Australia's grand Old Masters and highly respected artists.  Billy is one of the senior keepers of all his tribe's Dreamings.  He has painted Budgerigar, Spider, Yam and Wild Potato Dreamings for his region. 

Billy was raise by his aunt after his mother was killed during the Coniston massacre of 1928 when the area was invaded by whites.  He began work as a stock-man and later worked as a cook in the Papunya communal kitchen.  He was one of the Papunya Town Councilors in the 1970's and an accomplished wood carver before he took up painting. Billy was one of the founders of the Papunya painting movement after he received approval to use guarded stories.  It was then that he and a few others painted the Honey Ant Dreaming design on the school which set the painting movement in motion. 

Billy was a Central Australian delegated to the NAC during the '70's. Aboriginal Arts Board member 1975-79; and Chairman of Papunya Tual Artists during the '70s.  He has exhibited his work form 1974 to 1994, and has visited the USA several times. In 1988, he was part of the opening of the "Dreamings: Art of Aboriginal Australia" exhibition in New York.  He and his wife have four children; two daughters and two sons.  The daughter, Gillian paints occasionally having been taught by her father. 
 Aboriginal People during Ceremonial Dance 

Notice all the dotted work of body paint-similar to what we see on many canvas paintings. 

 Bush Bean Dreaming, 2003, by William Sandy, 60" X 48" 

Born in 1944, and had his first solo exhibit in 1990.  Participated in group exhibits from 1982-2000, and was the winner of the Northern Territory Art Award in 1985.

 Rainbow Dreaming, by Peggy Nangala Jurra, 1987, Synthetic Polymer paint on canvas, 106.7 X 76.5 cm and Bush Potato Dreaming, by Leo Peterson. 

Rainbow Dreaming is associated with the Water Dreaming that also belongs to Nanagala and Nampitjinpa women.  The country of the Dreaming is Puyurru where a big rain left to travel north in the Dreaming.  As the rain traveled, the Dreaming created people out of the small rain clouds.  

The Path of the Dreaming follows a creek with a fresh-water spring, called Lungkardajarra, shown by the central wavy lines.  The central circles represent big clouds; the outer circles, small rain clouds and the bars indicate cloud fronts.  The Rainbow Dreaming is indicated by tri-colored arcs, which are painted in primary colors to emphasis its radiant power.  

 From the Tingari Cycle, Morris Gibson Tjaplatjarri, 2003, 
60" X 48" 

 John Weeronga Bartoo's work and unknown artist

Artist statement: I am an Australian Aboriginal Artist, my Mob come from around Cunnamulla in South Western Queensland.  It was late in 2002 while recovering from illness that I felt an urge to paint.  At that time I did not understand where this feeling came from.  Through my art I am learning more about my culture, promoting my art and communicating with people is giving me more confidence in myself.  I paint primarily for myself and am happy when others enjoy my work.   I
believe that the spirits of my ancestors are guiding me with my art and through my art.  I can express the stories of not only the Dreamtime but of my family and my life's journeys.  As for my future in art, I will be guided by my heart and the spirits.

 Flying Dingoes, 1974 and Honey Ant, by the Papunya Community 

 Bark Paintings: Fish and Black Headed Python and fruit Bats

During the flowering season in September, "flying foxes" are attracted to the blossoms on certain trees.  When they root, their droppings fall to the ground and smell as sweet as the blossoms they feed on.  The black-headed python waits nearby to eat the old and sick as they fall.

Australian Boomerangs and Didgeridoos

Beautifully hand painted 16" boomerangs by local Aboriginal artists, feature native Australian animals.  These boomerangs can be used for throwing, but most visitors buy them for the lovely art- one sales for approximately  $47.00.


 Australian Aboriginal Art. 50,000 years ago to present
(Author Unknown)

The fist known people of Australia, the Aborigines, came to the continent about 50,000 years ago. They have strong beliefs that tie them to the land and culture of storytelling and art.  The Aboriginals had a difficult time when settlers came to their land and many people died. 

Traditional paintings were done on people's bodies, on rocks and on large sheets of bark that were carefully dried and flattened.  Paints were made from colors found in nature.  The most common colors were red, Yellow, brown, black and white.  Tools used for painting included brushes  {made from twigs chewed at the end), hands, feathers, leaves, and hair.  Most Aboriginal paintings have symbols, snakes, plants, animals, houses and people.   Designs are called " Dreaming." These dreamings tell stories about special places, tribes (groups of people) and clans (families) all over Australia.  

Modern Aboriginal painters use modern canvases, paint and brushes like what we use. Some artists prefer traditional methods.  

Again, The fist known people of Australia came to the island continent about 50,000 years ago. They and their decedents, the Aborigines were nomads.  Moving from place to place, they hunted and gathered food.  They made tools out of wood and stone. 

The Aborigines are an intelligent, intuitive and deeply religious people.  They believe that the world was created by  " Dawn Beings" who inhabited the sacred mythological past, the "Eternal Dreamtime." Aborigines think of the land as a living being, their mother to whom they belong. They mother land nurtures them and they in return respect and honor her. 

Australian Aboriginal art is the oldest visual art tradition in the world (more than twice the age of the Lascaux Cave paintings in France). Until this century, the art of this highly nomadic people were mostly created during ceremonial performances in which tribesmen would paint the designs on one another's bodies or on the land itself. The only artifacts that have been found of early versions are those that the Aborigines painted and engraved on rocks. 

Traditional Aboriginal paintings were usually done on large sheets of bark, carefully cut out with a primitive rock ax and pulled from the stringy Bark or Eucalyptus tree. The bark is then carefully dried out over a small fire and quickly flattened.  It is then pinned down with heavy weights to prevent re-curling and walked on to keep it flat.  After a few days of seasoning, further trimming and smoothing the bark is prepared for paint. 

The brushes used by the people are quickly make and quickly discarded. Usually they are twigs shewed at the end to cause fraying and often both ends are frayed to accommodate two colors of pigment.  The most advanced brushes are made from a flat pice of wood with regularly spaced cuts at one end so that wit each application it produces a net line of dots. The aborigines also use their hands, bird feathers, leaves or their hair to apply pigment. 

The palette is limited to red, yellow, black and white, all from earth pigments. The materials are ground as finely as possible between stones and mixed with water.  As the ochre's tends to be friable, fixatives such as orchid bulbs, wild honey and eggs are mixed in.  Contemporary Aboriginal artists use modern canvases and paints and brushes, as well as the traditional media.  

Fore the Aborigines, the paintings have little to do with western ideas of art or beauty.  They are instead about their land, heritage and more recently, their efforts toward greater political power. Their designs are described as "Dreamings" is not so much a translation as art analogy for the Aborigines belief of how the world came into being.  Very briefly explained. Dreaming are the spiritual ancestors who created a world out of chaos.  They shaped it, made the plants, insects, animals and human society.  There is a Dreaming for just about everything; A water Dreaming, a brush-fire Dreaming and even a Dreaming for the common cold. 

All the Dreamings are stories that are tied to sacred sites, tribes, and clans all over Australia.  They connect to form an enormous narrative web understood by all Aborigines.  Each dreaming is " owned" by a family line and is respected as property, just as we respect copyrights. 

Until this century, the Dreamings were mostly created for ceremonial purposes.  In 1971 a young American art student, Geoff Bardon, arrived in Papunya in the Western desert region to start a children's mural painting project.  What he found, however, was the adults were equally enthusiastic about painting and immediately began re-creating their traditional designs.  By giving the narratives western paints and canvas, Bardon inadvertently uncovered a whole new visual arts school.  Painting on permanent materials quickly spread. 

The Aboriginal painting have bold graphic designs. Many depict mandalas, snakes, plants, animals, houses and people.  Most often they are rendered as though they were seen from high up in the air. Nearly all are strikingly detailed.  Some "x-ray" paintings actually show the internal structures and organs of animals.  It was widely believed in Northern Australia that by painting an image of a kangaroo (for example) in a cave or on bark, magical control of the animal could be obtained.  Thus, ensuring a successful hunt. Producing the image was also a request that the ancestral spirit  (or Dreaming), who became the kangaroo, send forth life for the increase of the species.  

The Australian Aborigine is a culture in flux. After 200 years of genocidal policies, the Aborigine population is less than 200,000. Now the Australian government has had a change of heart and courts have ruled in favor of the Aborigine in several land rights disputes.  Interestingly, in one case, painted Dreamings were actually used successfully as evidence, serving as proof of ownership of the land. This political power is one motivator of the contemporary Aborigine artists.  They believe that by selling a painting the artist validates his claim of land ownership.  Artist Charlie Jararu Jungurrayi is quoted as saying " If I don't paint this story, some white fella might come and steal my country." Their paintings are the Dreamings of the Aborigines.  Nature in its entirety; landscapes features, water hole, plants, creatures, every kind of animate and inanimate object and event is metamorphosed evidence of the historical pathways and journeying of these people. All of them is their Dreamings; creation is not complete, it is process. Their time frame is one the western mind can not readily understand. Their infinity, their states of being are not the same as ours.

Some of the themes of the Aborigine art are social and political, dealing with the racism, poverty and addiction. Some of the designs are too sacred to be seen by the western eyes and these are often covered by detailed cross hating to obscure the original Dreamings. 

(Author Unknown)