(Photo: Rainbow Valley , Alice Springs, Central Australia)
Contemporary Aboriginal art is the meeting of two worlds – the ancient and the modern. The ancient – the stories of ancestors, the creation of the geography of the land, the history of their tribe and the evolved social customs is the cultural memory – the Dreaming. The modern – converting these ancient dimensions into a contemporary two dimensional format using acrylic paint is a continuation of the tradition of reinforcing the Dreaming stories and the way of communicating the Dreaming to non indigenous people.
The Dreamtime (or Dreaming) is a term used to describe the period before living memory when Spirits emerged from beneath the earth and from the sky to create the land forms and all living things. The Dreamtime stories set down the laws for social and moral order and establish the cultural patterns and customs.
The Dreaming, as well as answering questions about origins, provides a harmonious framework for human experience in the universe and the place of all living things within it. It describes the harmony between humans and all other natural things.
'Aboriginals see themselves as part of nature. We see all things natural as part of us. All the things on Earth we see as part human. This is told through the ideas of dreaming. By dreaming we mean the belief that long ago, these creatures started human society. These creatures, these great creatures are just as much alive today as they were in the beginning. They are everlasting and will never die. They are always part of the land and nature as we are. Our connection to all things natural is spiritual.' Silas Roberts, first Chairman of the Northern Lands Council.