“Aboriginal Art aims for Sky”.

Kyle-Pickett-EmuInTheSky-2Emu in the Sky by Kyle Pickett (Australia). “When the Yallabirri (emu) appears in the sky in preparation for the laying of the eggs.” Image Credit: Kyle Pickett/Shared Sky
by Karl Gruber
A project connected artists in Western Australia and South Africa, where the two parts of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope will be built.
SINCE THE DAWN of our species, humans have been fascinated by the night sky, and celestial objects such as stars or planets feature in some of humankind’s most ancient artworks.
For some Aboriginal groups, the stars have historically provided pointers to seasonal events or have been tied up in Dreamtime narratives.
For the Yamaji people of the Murchison region of Western Australia, for example, the appearance of an emu-like shape along the Milky Way has signalled the start of emu-egg collecting season for thousands of years.
“Creation of the Sun” by the First People Artists of the Bethesda Arts Centre (South Africa). “In the early times, the Sun was asleep in his house, shining for himself alone. The Earth was cold and dark. The mothers couldn’t dry the ant-larvae to eat so they were hungry, and the people were cold. Then the old woman gathered the children together: ‘My children, creep up to that old man the sun while he is sleeping. Creep up to that old Sun Armpit, and fling him into the sky, so that the earth can be warm for us, so that all the world will be bright.’
Photo credit: First People Artists of the Bethesda Arts Centre/Shared Sky
Aboriginal art of the night sky
Yamaji and other Aboriginal groups live a different lifestyle to their ancestors, but the night sky remains central to their lives and has now served as inspiration for new artworks.
via Aboriginal art aims for the sky – Australian Geographic.



The Australian National Maritime Museum acknowledges all traditional custodians of the lands and waters throughout Australia and pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to elders both past and present.
When Captain James Cook first arrived on Australian shores on that historic day in 1770, he wrote in his journal that the Aboriginal people ‘may appear to some to be the most wretched people upon Earth, but in reality they are far more happier than we Europeans’.
It is this journal entry that has inspired the Indigenous artist Michael Cook many generations and centuries later to produce his inspired and progressive art. NAG
His work poses many ‘what-if’ questions, specifically. ‘what if the British had realised Aborigines were indeed civilised?
Would history have been different?’

via Australian National Maritime Museum.


“Ancient Rock Astronomy”.

EmuInTheSky_Web_LoQual_sRGBIt is acknowledged that Australian Aboriginal culture is heavily spiritual and symbolic, but a rock engraving in a national park near Sydney suggests that the indigenous belief system represents a deep knowledge of the sky and the motion of the bodies within it.
Scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have presented the hypothesis that Aborigines – whose existence stretches back, unbroken, for more than 50,000 years – could have been the world’s first astronomers.
Coalsack Dark Nebula (within the Milky Way) is known to the Wardaman Aboriginal people as the head of the ‘Emu In The Sky’.
The rest of its body falls to the left, seen as the darkness between the stars.
Emu in the Skyv2
In the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, near Sydney, is an ancient Aboriginal rock engraving of the Emu In The Sky, oriented in such a way so as to line up with the nebula where it appears in the sky at the time when real-life emus are laying their eggs.
This engraving, and the CSIRO’s research, could change people’s understanding of Aboriginal people and the development of advanced human thinking.

See more via Ancient Aboriginal Astronomy | Atlas Obscura.

“Beauty from the Amazon”.

bIn this June 23, 2015 photo, Yeni Casiano Barboza, 15, from the Ashaninka Indian community, Natividad, poses for a photo while waiting to compete in the annual beauty contest, in the Otari Nativo village, Pichari, Peru.
For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair, her sense of humor, and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, according to some community members.
Gathered in the middle of the Amazon forest, the participants in the beauty contest wear the simple brown dresses of the Ashaninka indigenous woman, their faces dotted in a traditional design with a red dye extracted from a spice called achiote.
“The little red dots are my happiness,” said Beysi Anaya, a 17-year-old who won last month’s competition after traveling three hours by car from her native valley community of Sampantuari. She was crowned with a small straw hat featuring a long red feather.
It was the fifth beauty contest held among annual festivities marking the founding of the Ashaninka community of Otari Nativo, which is in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca-growing region.
The Ashaninka people number in the tens of thousands and live mostly in the rainforests of Peru.
aIn this June 23, 2015 photo, Ashaninka Indian school children parade with torches during festivities celebrating the 44th anniversary of their village, in Otari Nativo, Pichari, Peru.
The village is located in a valley near the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers in the world’s largest coca growing region.
In addition to the standard Ashaninka dress, the contestants also showed off a shorter, midriff-baring summer version that can be used for swimming. Multiple strands of colored beads crisscrossed their chest like bandoliers.
Other activities included an archery competition for men and women as well as a contest for drinking the fermented juice of the cassava root.
The community’s men smoked large amounts of meat for festival-goers to eat.
For Ashaninka men, a woman’s beauty is determined in part by her hair — the longer, the better — and whether she can cook a tasty cassava dish, said community member and translator Marishori Samaniego.
A sense of humor is also important in determining attractiveness, said psychologist Leslie Villapolo, who has worked with the Ashaninka.
via AP PHOTOS: Indigenous festival in Peruvian rainforest – Houston Chronicle.

“Bush Tucker and Medicine”.

5693438-3x2-700x467A remote community in the Northern Territory is growing its own fruit and vegetables, bush tucker and bush medicine.
Ali Curung is an Indigenous community about 350 kilometres north of Alice Springs, where a network of communal garden beds have just being built.
The raised garden beds are a part of a community project to learn more about local bush tucker and medicines, but also to provide fresh food in a town where supplies are trucked in infrequently.
There are native fruits such as passionfruit and finger limes, local tucker including bush tomatoes and raisins, and introduced vegetables such as cauliflower.
Gardener Graham Beasley says he learnt how to use the bush tucker as a kid, and wants to pass the skills on.
“The bush raisins, you can crush it up together and make a flour, then everybody can share a damper,” he said.
Some of the plants can also be used for medicines.
“If the kids have sores, you can crush it together and rub it all over their bodies.”
Mr Beasley is a first time gardener but says he has found a new passion and wants to teach others in the community how to do it.
“I like growing things.
If we get more plants growing, we’ll be able to grow seeds here and get them to grow in their yards as well,” he said.
“Bush medicines and bush plants. Trying to get them to learn from here and grow properly in the community.”
via Remote garden provides fresh supply of bush tucker and medicines – Rural News – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Indigenous Art from Victoria.

r1323751_18354497Originally created for her young son, Ballarat teacher and artist Deanne Gilson’s painting Wadawurrung Cultural Tree of Knowledge is a lesson in local Indigenous history.
It brings together significant symbols and totems of the Wadawurrung people, such as the creator spirit Bunjil the Eagle and Waa the Crow, as well as traditional artefacts.
But it also references the Wadawurrung Traditional Owner’s Catholic heritage through her Aboriginal grandmother, with a cross visible near the top of the tree.
“There are lots of double meanings behind a lot of the symbols,” Ms Gilson explains.
She sourced local ochre and charcoal from her fire to add authenticity to the work.
The large painting won the Australian Catholic University’s Acquisitive Award for Work Based on Spirituality and Cultural Tradition, as part of this year’s Victorian Indigenous Art Awards.
Ms Gilson, who works primarily with clay and paint, says the recognition from the university is an “honour”, and appropriate, as all her work starts from “a spiritual place”.
Bellbrae artist and Wadawurrung woman Jenny Crompton won the renowned and widely recognised Deadly Art Award for her work Gathering at Godocut, which was crafted from seaweed and binder (ABC Local).
via Exhibition celebrates Victoria’s Indigenous artists – ABC Ballarat – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
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