Rock Art Exploration


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A walk through the extraordinary Rock Art trail of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. This narration explains the perspective of Aboriginal Dreamtime stories that cover the rock walls and ceilings. It is a tribute to the Bininj(the original people) of Gagagju (Kakadu).

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Rock Art Exploration

  1. 1. A Walk Through The Dreamtime
  2. 2. Come along on a walk through the ancient, storied lands of Aboriginal Australia, through the Stone Country of KAKADU for an exploration of the Rock Art walls that whisper the stories of THE DREAMTIME
  3. 3. The Stone Country of the Northern Territory in Australia is very big. There are many sites where traditional clan artists created galleries of Dreamtime artworks. Two famous sites are at Ubirr and Nourlangie in Kakadu National Park . We walk along as guests on this sacred land, and are reminded to respect and care for the land and its people.
  4. 4. Aboriginal peoples express their cultural identity and values in their stories of The Dreamtime . The Dreamtime is about long ago origins and how the world and life were formed. The Dreamtime is about here and now and how we continue to shape our world. The Dreamtime is about the future - how events and practices continue to shape our world.
  5. 5. Welcome to Anbangbang Stewart Gangale of Mirrar Clan explains his responsibility to care for his neighboring clan lands at Anbangbang .
  6. 6. Follow the trail and walk with respect in the steps of the Bininj of Gadugju ,… To look and listen,… to the Dreamtime of their clans and lands.
  7. 7. Many Dreamtime stories explain how land features were formed or illustrate important clan laws about relationships with the land, like hunting, or relationships among people, like who can marry. The signs explain the land features and their reflection of Dreamtime stories.
  8. 8. In the Stone Country of Kakadu, Aboriginal peoples were in awe of the striking mountains and rock overhangs. The original clans chose these places for sacred sites and ceremonies. They painted the images of the Dreamtime stories on the many high and sheltered walls.
  9. 9. Traditional clans paintings of Dreamtime stories on rock walls.
  10. 10. Aboriginal Art tells the archeological story of changing climate, lifestyles, and artistic styles over thousands of years. It also tells the story of the country and culture of the Aboriginal people. These are images of Mimis, spirits that taught the people to paint. We share the concept of muses to inspire Western artworks.
  11. 11. The artworks on these stone walls are very, very old. The clan artists sometimes painted over older images with newer ones. Over time some of the areas are layered with several stories and images.
  12. 12. Within the layers of paintings clans share their history, customs and culture. Major events like the coming of European colonials inspire ways of showing different people. Notice the shoes, clothes, and gesture of hands in pockets which was foreign to the clans.
  13. 13. The purpose of the Dreamtime stories were many. Some stories tell about the creation of the world and ancient beginnings, or about land features and Nature, like Lightning Man.
  14. 14. Some were stories that taught about behavior and respect among clan peoples. This story warns of the punishment for stealing.
  15. 15. sustainable relationship with the seasonal flow. These stories tell what seasons hunting or fishing is allowed to respect and protect the animals that give the clan life. how to respect the land and animals in a Some were stories about
  16. 16. Lessons in Clan Law Her disrespect for clan laws, which reflect a strong respect for Nature, caused many to be killed. This story illustrates a battle between clans when a young girl went fishing at the wrong season.
  17. 17. Many stories tell of the animals and lifestyle in that type of country. Kakadu has six traditional seasons among dry and rainy months. Other stories teach about safety and respect for the land.
  18. 18. Some stories record the rich history of animals and Nature in this beautiful country of floodplains and high country. This record of clan foods include fish, turtles, and kangaroo.
  19. 19. Some Dreamtime stories taught methods of hunting and food preparation. Aboriginal Rock Art served many purposes. It passes on cultural knowledge & history, records customs & traditions, and illustrates annual celebrations and seasonal change.
  20. 20. Jabiru above and rock wallaby mother and baby at left. Kakadu National Park is a World Heritage Area. The United Nations recognizes special places like this around the world for their richness of unique land, peoples, and animals.
  21. 21. Some D reamtime stories celebrate everyday life and customs. This sign illustrates Rock Art of clan members dancing.
  22. 22. Rock Art celebrating clan members dancing.
  23. 23. We honor The Dreamtime , … which celebrates the beauty of Kakadu and its people,… … .the Bininj of Gadugju .
  24. 24. Story and photographs by Margo Wixsom [email_address] Palo Alto High School [email_address] For more information on Kakdu National Park visit these websites: Kakadu National Park http:// / Park homepage with downloadable Park Guide that includes excellent illustrations and photographs. Art center links with Dreamtime, heritage and landscape sections. PBS webpage on Kakadu http:// / Includes teacher resources, the six seasons, animals of Kakadu, and controversial land use challenges. Bowali Visitor Center email: [email_address] Special thanks to Fulbright-Australia who made this work possible