The dreaming is the centre of the Aboriginal culture which everything relates back to, the creation of people, animals, water and land. The Dreaming for Aboriginals is, ‘the past, the present and the future’. Outline the nature of the Dreaming- its stories, symbolism and art. Outline means to sketch in general terms, indicate the main features of. Aboriginal people tell the stories of the land and how it came to be with all its living creatures through expression of song, dance, painting and storytelling.
The Aboriginal Dreaming is set into multiple layers from the simplest first layer which anyone can access and understand to the second layer onward where the concepts are more complicated and a person must have a relationship to the Aboriginal people or culture to understand. The last couples of layers are only for initiated Aboriginals and Aboriginal elders and are very sacred and secret from anyone and everyone else.
Aboriginal Dreaming stories are depicted in the numerous artworks done using various techniques and coloured natural paints. Behind every painting there is hidden symbolism and every little shape, line and colour relates to some form of the Aboriginal life. The painting Sugarleaf at Ngarlu is an excellent example of hidden symbolism using shapes to create meaning such as camp sites, women dancing, footprints, ceremonial poles and women gathering socially.
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The stories of the dreaming are important as it is passed from generation to generation by the elders about the different experiences, lessons and Gods and spirits. Painting was the main way of expressing stories from ancestors specifically on rocks, utensils, weapons and as body art. Rock art has given evidence of human presence in Australia for over 30000 years. In the present day and in the past, body paintings have been used to show social position, relationship to their family, ancestors and to a person’s totem.
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