Dreamings - The Art of Aboriginal Australia


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1988, 30 Minutes

Dreamings - The Art of Aboriginal Australia is a journey to the heartlands and mangroves of Australia to see traditional Aboriginal artists at work.

Painter Michael Nelson Jakamarra talks of his family's association with the land. We are taken into the air to see some of the land forms and waterways which are incorporated in his imagery depicting a belief system stretching back over 40,000 years, with spiritual connections to the land, the clan, to animals and plants. The women of The Great Western Desert take us to a sacred water hole where they dance and sing about the Sugar Leaf Dreaming. Symbols incorporated in women's painting often relate to bush tucker themes - yams, honey ants and witchetty grubs.

This program explores the meaning behind works of immense beauty, ranging from acrylic dot paintings of the Central Desert to cross-hatched bark paintings and burial poles from Northern Australia. Only now is the world beginning to recognise the true significance of these artists and their work. This film reveals a culture which is among the most ancient known, and explores the timeless value of the oldest, continuous art tradition in the world.

Many of the works produced in this film were included in a two year touring exhibition that visited galleries in the USA and Australia between 1988-1990.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.


Director: Michael Riley

Writers: Jennifer Isaacs, Michael Riley, Denise Hunter

Producers: Janet Bell (Producer), Tony Wilson (Associate Producer)

Narrator: Lydia Miller

Year: 1988

Running Time: 30 Minutes

Classification: G

Curriculum Links: Visual Arts; Cultural Studies; Indigenous Studies; English K-10 Cultural perspectives - Insights into Aboriginal experiences in Australia; Studies of Society and Environment/Human Society and Its Environment (SOSE/HSIE).


New Horizons: Cultural Patterns (Australia)

Mr Patterns

Namatjira the Painter


SKU 198704000
Brand Film Australia

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