recently commissioned Paddy Sims to make a large collaborative canvas
for a European museum exhibition. At Yuendumu the making of a large
collaborative canvas often involves a bush trip to the country through
which the Dreaming track travels. Paddy Japaljarri Sims, senior custodian
of the Milky Way/Night Sky Dreaming story cycle, took us to the country
where he was born and raised out towards Lake McKay. He told us his
stories, and sang us his songs while the women danced and gathered
yams, and contributed some songs of their own, The bush trip and the
making of the collaborative painting are the subject of a documentary
film "Too Many Japaljarris?" (still photos courtesy of Cecilia
Sims was inspired by the bush trip, charged up from the singing and
dancing, and from being in the country where he was taught the stories
by the men of his father's generation. Returning to Yuendumu, Paddy
Japaljarri Sims, assisted by Paddy Japaljarri Stewart and Sheila Napaljarri
Brown created a large painting from the Milky Way/Night Sky Dreaming
cycle. Then Paddy Sims shared with us the deeper cultural significance
of this story and how it is used in a ritual for bringing on the change
of seasons or as Paddy phrased it, "Making the Nights Shorter,"
which the subject of a documentary film now in the editing stage.
Stay on the lookout for excerpted video clips posted in this area
of the site. Watch as a canvas unfolds from "kuruwarri"
(Warlpiri for a Dreamings' essence, as in the sacred designs of a
painting's iconography) to completed canvas.
portrait gallery of some of the Aboriginal artists we've gotten
to know over the years, including Emily Kngwarreye, Kathleen Petyarre,
Rover Thomas, Queenie MacKenzie and others. These artists, who were
generous with their time, shared something of their life experiences
with us and provided us with a greater appreciation of their art
and culture. The photographs are courtesy of Maggie De Moor, the
former Director of Songlines Aboriginal Art, Amsterdam. Maggie has
the gift of the great portrait photographers, a special ability
to capture something essential in her subjects.
paintings are generally painted outdoors, with the paintings lying
on the ground. The artists work their way around the canvas, applying
paint from more than one direction, giving the paintings their distinctly
nonwestern perspective. Though non-schooled in a western sense each
artist tends to develop their own personal techniques which are
often quite innovative. This photo essay follows a number of artist