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Aborignie Art PaintingThe Dreaming - An Exhibition of Aborigine Art (From Central Desert, Australia)
De Valera Library Gallery, Ennis, Co. Clare
6th - 21st February 2009

The Dreaming, an exhibition of Aborigine art, will open at the De Valera Library Gallery, Ennis, on 6th February 2009, at a 7.30pm reception officiated by Senator Madeleine Taylor Quinn, Mayor of Clare.

The artists represented are from the Central Desert Area in Australia. They produced their art works at the “Utopia”, “Ikuntji”, and “Kintore” communities where they live. Curated by Dr. Macon Macnamara of Corofin, on several journeys to Australia, the many artworks, large canvas to small paper and bark, represents the day to day motifs which depict “the Dreaming” sequence of the particular community that the artist is a member of.

The Dreaming - A term commonly used about Aboriginal Australia to refer to Aboriginal cosmology, encompassing the creator and ancestral beings, the laws of religions and social behaviour, the land and landscape, the spiritual forces, which sustain life and the narratives, which concern these.
The land, described by many Aborigine as ‘country’, is the key component of their lives and work. Each of them is given a ‘history’ of the country to remember and this history is secret and sacred. This ‘history’ contains the elements of the Dreaming; the past, the landscape, its features, the animals that inhabit it and more.

Among 30 represented, the artists include;
1. Barbara Weir, one of the “Stolen Generation” whose father was Irish, has exhibited in many countries outside of Australia.
2. Gloria Petyarre, whose paintings are exhibited world wide including a visit to Dublin in 1996.
3. Anna Petyarre of the extended Petyarre family.
4. Alison Multa of the Ikuntji community.
5. Caroline Price.
6. Ronnie Bird.
7. Sondra Price.
8. Norah Petyarre.
9. Doreen Payne.
10. Jennifer Purvis,
11. Other emerging artists

Traditional symbols are an essential part of much contemporary Aboriginal art. The modern paintings of the Central Desert incorporate many of these. Water and animal motif prevail. Works are abstracted using a form of markings or a pointillism, characteristic of much Aborigine art. In the less abstracted work some of the more common symbols used are;

Based on "Papunya Tula" by Geoffrey Bardon
Based on "Papunya Tula" by Geoffrey Bardon
Image source: Aboriginal Art Online

While the most commonly used symbols are relatively simple, they can be used in elaborate combinations to tell more complex stories. For example, a Water Dreaming painting might show a U shaped symbol for a man, sitting next to a circle or concentric circles representing a waterhole, and spiral lines showing running water. The painter is telling the story of the power of the water man to invoke rain. Further symbols will add to the depth of meaning. Today artists often refer to the 'outside' story which they provide for the general public while the painting retains an 'inside' story accessible only to those with the appropriate level of knowledge.

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