Pintupi Eye Dazzlers, Page 2

Tingari Dreaming




DBP6 Tingari Men, Raymond Maxwell Tjampitjinpa, 2002, 48" x 36" Not For Sale

Aboriginal paintings can often be read as multivalent texts. The symbols and abstract patterning in the paintings can be employed to serve a multiplicity of meanings, ones appropriate to general uninitiated audiences (which nowadays includes us, the "Kartiya" or whitefella), meanings that are revealed to young men during the process of initiation or "maliera," meanings which may be specific to women, and those to elder men.

The symbols and patterns may also imply different aspects of a story at the same time, serving as a form of visual shorthand condensing multiple meanings into a symbol the same way poetic or allusive language adds extra significance to words or phrases. If oral history can be considered a "living storybook" enacted by the tellers of the story then these designs, derived from imagery that was used as storytelling aids during ceremony and initiation (ground painting designs, incised sacred objects, body paint designs) are a recontextualized rendering of it's pictures, an allusive form of symbolic representation, implying ancestral actions, country, and the resonant spiritual power that still resides in the land today because of these ancestral activities in the Dreaming.

This painting depicts sandhill country deep in the western desert near the usually dry Lake McDonald. A large group of Tingari men camped at this site before traveling west. The Tingari are a mob of mythical ancestors who traveled over vast stretches of country, performing rituals and creating and shaping particular sites. A sense of ancestral creation energy activates this painting while also imparting the distinct impression of sun-drenched sand hills radiating the heat and reflected light of this deep desert country.

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