Mina Mina Dreaming....Aboriginal art and the creation

There is a painting in the gallery at the Hilton by Aboriginal artist Judy Napangardi Watson about the Mina Mina.  This Dreaming or Jukurrpa, is about the Creation Time and the country associated with this painting is west of Yuendumu.  It is significant to the Napangardi and the Napanangka women, the custodians of the Jukurrpa of that area.   It tells the story of a group of women, all ages, who travelled the country gathering food and performing sacred ceremonies as they went about their travels.  The journey begins at Mina Mina where digging sticks emerged from the ground.  The women took these implements and used them to create other sites by putting the digging sticks into the ground to create water.  They also used Ngalyipi, a sacred vine, that the women made "bush-string" with the fibers, the bark is used for ceremonial wraps and also as a tourniquet for headaches. 

Painted in bright flamboyant colours with a bold and energetic design that Judy Napangardi Watson is famous for, it tells us a very important story of creation and also shows us how this amazing senior Aboriginal women artist is able to convey the important message of Creation thru her artworks.

Patrick Oloddodi Tjungurrayi - senior Aboriginal lawmen


Visitors to the gallery at the Hilton continue to be surprised at the brilliance of this painting (currently on display) by Patrick Tjungurrayi.  So many marvel how the artist, a senior law man from the desert, can paint with such brilliant colours and create such a startling work.  This painting depicts designs associated with the site of Myilili near Jupiter Well, in the central desert area of Australia.  In mythological times a large group of Tingari Men (senior Aboriginal lawmen) camped near this site before traveling south-east to Ngarru where they performed sacred dances and sang the songs associated with the area.


Jagamara exhibition opened at the Hilton

The Michael Nelson Jagamara exhibition is looking fantastic in the foyer of the Hilton  Hotel, many who came on opening night were obviously overwhelmed with the quality of the works on display.  It was great to hear so many positive comments and also follow on with sales of these energetic works.  One person said that he thought the works were painted by a young "street artist" and showed obvious amazement when told that they were produced by a senior indigenous lawman.  The exhibition continues with more works on display in the gallery on level 4.

2012 Telstra Art Awards

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) is due to host the 29th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

“Since the 63 pre-selected works began arriving two months ago, MAGNT staff have been busy preparing the artworks, stretching paintings on canvas, framing works on paper and preparing supports for three dimensional works,” Mr Waight, Indigenous Art Curator, said.

MAGNT Director, Pierre Arpin said: “This year’s exhibition is made up of many wonderful and unique pieces, including works on paper, paintings, barks and three dimensional works.”

The official opening and the presentations of awards will be on Friday 10th August, 2012.

The Award was established in 1984 by the MAGNT to recognize important contributions made by Indigenous artists and to promote appreciation and understanding of the quality and diversity of their artforms.

Kevin will be at the opening award ceremony, so watch this space and we’ll put all the details and winners in the next day.

Dreamtime Stories

Many people are confused by the term “Dreaming” or “Dreamtime stories” as they relate to Aboriginal paintings.

Aboriginal people use the term “Dreamtime” as the beginning when the plants, animals, people, elements and land was created and the cycles of life began. The beginning of creation will never end, but it is also the past, to Aboriginal people it represents the present and the future.

When the term “Dreaming” is used it often refers to a family or a groups individual belief and the responsibilities that they have inherited.

In the beginning each family or group was given responsibility for a plant, animal or section of land. No individual can assume ownership of any of these things, but rather are responsible for their care and well-being, they also have an obligation to educate future generations by passing down their knowledge. These are the Dreaming stories, handed down from generation to generation. When we view paintings such as Honey Ant Dreaming or Bush Tomato Dreaming we are looking at a particular family’s story they have inherited, in turn that story must be passed down to future generations giving them a sense of who they are and where they came from.

Originally paintings were done on the walls of caves showing “creator spirits” or hunting stories; on the body for ceremonies and in the sand, depicting animal tracks or places where water or food is found.

Many artworks we see hanging in galleries today have been painted using modern artists materials such as canvas and acrylic paint. They are the stories of the “Dreamtime” and are there to teach us all about a rich and vibrant culture that has been living off this land for over 50,000 years. All Aboriginal artworks, no matter how modern they look, are based on spiritual beliefs. The stories of the Dreamtime are told in the same way as they always have, but the skills of individual artists (senior lawmen and women) have evolved to create new and exciting ways to tell their stories.