Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Painted Song

According to Kerry Smallwood, curator of the exhibition, Aboriginal woman are social, political and ceremonial leaders in their communities. These women create out of a necessity and honor to paint in the tradition of the history of the male leaders of their respective tribes. The context of this work and the other works in the show is with the Dreaming that forms the basis of indigenous cosmology. These communities are ancestral. They take mythic journeys that extend across the continent in a grid like pattern that determines the ancestral claims and ownership of land, rights and responsibilities. Evidently each group has its own language and a specific name for their Dreaming figures and stories. But on some level the women must all relate, speak and understand the meanings of the Dreaming paintings which provide the foundation of social relationships, cultural values, land ownership and custodian of the environment.

The work above is by Tatali Nangala it's called Kungka Kutjara Tjuklurrpa (Two Travelling Women Dreaming) at Rockholes and Soakages. I chose this work because of its colors, patterning and layout. This map shows direction, location and destination. I really loved the way muted colors shaped the landscape. The way it draws you in and makes your eyes wander down each line. It's a journey that the artist is taking more than just the two travelling women, but all who view the piece. The catalogue says this is a complex map of the Dreaming journey's of the Kungka Kutjara. These ancestral women travelled over vast stretches of country, moving from waterhole to waterhole where they created sites and performed rituals.
Australian Aboriginal Women's Paintings from the Kelton Foundation currently at the Santa Monica College and the Pete and Susan Barrett Art gallery located at the Santa Monica Perfoming Arts Center.

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