Songlines Aboriginal Art: Paintings from Yuendumu and Lajamanu, Page 4~


TDL 2. Water Dreaming, Peter Jangala Ross, 1995, 36" x 24" For Sale

The circles in this painting represent springs or soakages; the long sinuous lines are the rains (ngapa) and the smaller straighter lines lightning, short barred lines are clouds, rainbursts, thunder — these are also body-paint designs. In this painting the two sinuous vertical lines indicate very heavy rain and the flood waters produced by them and the horizontal bars the clouds rainburst and thunder.

The Australian Deserts are vast arid areas expanding outward from the continent's center. Survival in the desert for Aborigines has always depended on a detailed knowledge of waterholes and the behavior of plant and animal species, a knowledge gained within the family through the ceremonial teaching of songs and song cycles recording the ancient journeys of the groups ancestors

Until quite recently water dominated the lives of Aboriginal people and the search for food could not be separated from the need for water. Chains of waterholes or 'soaks" follow the great Dreaming tracks and many paintings record these. They occur in sequences of locations memorized as part the great ceremonial song cycles, and visited by "custodians" who care for each as sacred sites.