Art in South America and the Pacific
Aboriginal Creation Myths and Art
The Aborigines have existed for approximately 40,000 years in parts of Australia. They boast one of the most ancient cultures in the world that is as varied as the people themselves throughout different regions of this continent. Due to the length of time that this civilization has existed, one would think that its traditions, cosmology and art would have a significant impact on the world. However, largely due to the fact that the Aborigines are a non-Westernized group of people and have never fully embraced technology, which is one of the principle Western markers of the “progress” of a civilization, most of its cultural manifestations are largely ignored by the outside world. As such, it is necessary to explicate one of the most integral aspects of this culture’s history — its conception of the creation of the world and everything in it — to fully understand the nature of many of its cultural manifestations and aesthetics (primarily art) in order to discern how the one is intrinsically related to the other.
The most important concept related to aboriginal art is the dreamtime, which has a multitude of definitions and uses within this civilization. Most often, the dreamtime is the notion of the creation of the world or of the afterlife. It is simultaneously a place and a time, one akin to both the afterlife and the prevalence of an existence that preceded the physical world. As the name implies, it is a time/place in which change is imminent, physical laws do not apply and external repercussions are able to manifest themselves with the action of thought. It is an extension of the notion of the dreaming, “a term used by the Aboriginal people to describe relations between the spiritual, natural and moral elements of the world. It relates to a period before living memory or experience — a time of creator ancestors and supernatural beings” (No author).
The crux of the creation myths of Aborigines, which vary slightly depending on which particular Aboriginal group in a specific part of Australia is referenced, is that there were totem ancestors who existed in spiritual essence prior to the conception of the physical world. The world was then thought to have been made by a central creation figure, known to some as Altjira (No author), who created a barren, empty world before allowing these totem ancestors to enter it. These ancestors then, during this period known as dreamtime, created all of nature and the creatures existent within it through their interactions with one another, not all of which were peaceful. Certain Aborigines believe that conflicts between different ancestors resulted in the formation of the stars, the moon and the sun, while others believe that amicable interaction between the ancestors, such as simply walking a certain path for instance, left trails and hills and grass and other facets of nature.
The interaction of these creation myths with Aboriginal art is vital, since the art of the cultural was widely regarded as a means of propagating morals and aesthetic principles. Therefore, Aboriginal art was not readily released to the general public because of its sincerity and the integrity of the images it rendered, which had corresponding cultural values endemic to these people’s belief systems. As such, it had a definite social impact that helped to reinforce the codes of Aboriginal civilization. Their works of art contains symbols that are highly important and have religious significance. Although symbols may have more than one interpretation, the correct one usually hinges upon the context of the work of art.
An excellent of example of the usage of art to detail the dreamtime creation myths of aborigines is found in Janet Long Nakamura’s “Milky Way.” This is a relatively simple work of art that was created around the turn of the millennium that reveals much about the creation mythology conveyed in Aboriginal art. The stark rendering of the colors involved in this painting — black, white, and a dirty, auburn-tinged red — is definitely evocative of the realms of outer space as visible to the naked eye. In this respect, the work actually looks like the Milky Way. Outer space is represented by the strong dark background, while the white colors, bunched together as a series of dots, is indicative of the milky way itself, the light behind the stars and the very fabric of the galaxy. What principally separates this work from any Westernized conception of the milky way, of course (Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” comes to mind), however, is the prominence of the red colors and the shapes themselves. The red circles represent certain members of the totem ancestors, which appear to be trailed by a single dot, yet another ancestor. As the artist herself explains,
The seven circles are the Seven Sisters and the one on its own is the Jakamarraâ€¦Where ever the sisters went the Jakamarra would always be with them. One day the sisters wanted to get rid of the Jakamarra so they came down from the sky. They all walked together from place to place and the Jakamarra was always with them in the sky (Nakamaara).
This quotation demonstrates the fact that this work of art is used to explain a very particular aspect of creation, the westerly progression of celestial bodies. The phenomena of several supernal bodies such as the sun, moon, and the stars travelling across the sky from the east to the west is succinctly explained by the work’s implied sense of motion in which the sisters can be seen leading Jakamarra to the painting’s left, which represents west. This facet of life which is easily observable is now effectively explained through Aboriginal art that reflects creation mythology.
Another work by the same artist, “Stars,” underscores the nature of what many westerners may regard as ambiguity in the interpretation of Aboriginal creation myths and the art work that represents them. There is a distinct likeness between this work and “Milky Way”; each utilizes the same colors and symbols — the red, black and white and the large, circular dots. Again, the dark background represents space while the faint white dots (which are somewhat difficult to see) are representative of the presence of the Milky Way. However, these symbols and colors are joined by the presence of large center circles, which are emblematic of Willy Wagtail, a type of bird that has immense cultural significance in Aborigine tradition. The shape of the smaller dots, those that represent the stars, around it is evocative of dreamtime, as the following quotation from Nakamaara illustrates.
This icon tells about the stars. The three symbols represent the meaning of the stories about the stars. Some stars tell stories of the Dreamtime.For example there’s a willy wagtail who made a humpy. As you see in the sky a big ‘U’ shape and that’s the Willy Wag tails hump. Each of these stars have long stories and meanings and for different family groups with skin names (Nakamaara).
The ambiguity of the different “meanings” of the stars in this painting is actually reflective of a very important aspect of Aboriginal art that pertains to creation mythology. Many artists will create works and offer an “outside story which they provide for the general public while the painting retains an inside story accessible only to those with an appropriate level of knowledge” (Bardon).
What is most notable about many of the creation myths depicted by Aboriginal artists is the level of conviction these artists have regarding the meaning of their work. The stories detailed within their art are not myths to these artists; many times, the artists actually believe that these are sacred explanations for how various things came to be in the world today. Such conviction is found in “Bungalung Men Dreaming,” which was painted by Johnny Warangkula in the 1970’s. This work of art depicts a struggle between two ancestors, the Bungalung man and a Tingari man, the latter of whom was trespassing on sacred land (No author). The copious quantity of dots, particularly the white ones, evinces the full force of the elements invoked by the Bungalung Man to beat his opponent into submission. The power of the Bungalung man is evinced by the fact that he leaves tracks in his wake when walks, which record permanent imprints on the earth. The setting in which this painting takes place, Tjikarri, is a common location in the artist’s paintings.
Aboriginal art reflects the sacred elements of the stories of creation for these people. It incorporates a variety of symbolism that is representative of dreaming, which is a means of ascertaining power and hearkens back to dreamtime, in which Aboriginals believe the world and all of its creations were made. Many of the symbols used to reflect the myths regarding creation seem ambiguous to untrained westerners, since they vary according to the context of the work in which they are employed. The explanations themselves either account for observable, physical phenomena or more esoteric sources of power and hegemony, such as found within “Bungalung Men Dreaming.”
Bardon, Geoffrey. “Aboriginal Art and Use of Symbols.” Aboriginal Art Online. 2004. http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/culture/symbols.php
Nakamura, Janet. “Milky Way.” Aboriginal Dreamtime. No date. Web. http://www.jintaart.com.au/iconography/milkyway.htm
Nakamura, Janet. “Stars.” Aboriginal Dreamtime. No date. Web. http://www.jintaart.com.au/iconography/starsico.htm
No author. “About the Artist.” Original and Authentic Aboriginal Art. 2004. Web. http://www.authaboriginalart.com.au/Artist.asp?Artist=Johnny%20Warangkula%20Tjupurrula
No author. “Art, Land and the Dreaming.” Aboriginal Art Online. 2004. Web.
No author. “Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime.” Crystalinks.com. No date. Web. http://www.crystalinks.com/dreamtime.html
This is a replica of Bungalung Man Dreaming (above).
This is a replica of “Stars” (above).
This is a replica of “Milky Way.”
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!
We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.
Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.
Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.
Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.
Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.
Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.
We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.
Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.
You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.
From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.
Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.
Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.
You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.
You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.
Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.
We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.
We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.
We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.
Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!
Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality
Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.
We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.
We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.
We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.
We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.