janetthomas

“Whatever may be the age of these paintings, it is scarcely probable that they could have been executed by a self-taught savage.”
Sir George Grey, 1837
(Morphy, 1998:20)

Until recently, European history of Aboriginal art has given little to which one could reference as few art objects were collected and most were relegated to ethnographic novelty. Being the first European to document the Wandjina rock paintings in the Kimberley, Sir George Grey was quick to dismiss the idea that they were done by the local people because of the works’ apparent technical skill and startling aesthetics (Morphy, 1998:20). However, these paintings are an integral cultural element of the people of the coastal country of the Kimberley. This essay will explore how the Dreaming encompasses the past, present and future, and how the Wandjina figures have been used by Aboriginal artists in the past and the present to reaffirm their connection…

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