Aboriginal Art Essay Research Paper Art Religion

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Aboriginal Art Essay, Research Paper Art, Religion, and the Dreaming “The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, is crucial to the understanding of Aboriginal art. Art is a means to the Dreaming, a way of making contact with this spiritual dimension, and yet in turn it is the product of the Dreaming .” Howard Morphy opens with these words to his chapter called Foundation: Art, Religion and the Dreaming, in his book, Aboriginal Art. His words not only carry an extreme amount of truth and legitimacy they also signify something that is sacred to the fascinating community, we call the Aborigines. Dreamtime Before analyzing the art created by these people, background must be introduced to understand more clearly the meanings and influences behind their creations. Religion and the

Aboriginal concept called Dreamtime are two main influential factors behind the art that is constituted by the Aborigines. Dreamtime, (or wangarr, which is the Yolngu word for Dreamtime,) like most religious concepts, is something that can’t be translated by a short phrase. It involves much, much more, including exploring Aboriginal ideas about the nature of the world. It is a very complex concept and sometimes hard to interpret for people not living within this community. The people living within the Yolngu tribe, who inhabit the eastern part of Arnham land, have their own concept of Dreamtime. They feel the word or connotation; ‘Dream’ is quite inappropriate. They believe wangarr goes farther than just a dream, they believe it is part of their reality. Morphy sums up the

true reality that Dreamtime represents to the people of the Yolngu tribe in the quote below: “The Dreaming exists independently of the linear time of everyday life and the temporal sequence of historical events. Indeed, the Dreaming is as much a dimension of reality as a period of time. It gains its sense of time because it was there in the beginning, underlies the present and is a determinant of the future; it is time in the sense that once there was only Dreamtime. But the Dreamtime has never ceased to exist, and from the viewpoint of the present it is as much a feature of the future as it is of the past the Dreamtime is as concerned with space as with time-it refers to the origins and powers that are located in places and things.” Death and Transition Along with these

convictions, the Yolngu believe that there was a time on earth where humans did not exist. They are certain that humans emerged and transformed from within the earth. And in a sense they believe that their past lives were ones of animals, rocks, and trees and that they lived on a much grander scale than they do today. However, along with living this grandiose lifestyle came even grander consequences. The bodies of the dead formed the land that the Yolngu live and survive in and the rivers were formed from their blood. The process of death is an extremely complex journey within the Yolngu tribe. The soul of the being usually returns to the land of it original birth. From there it is faced within many trials like avoiding the spear of a fish or being eaten by a bird. Though each

spiritual journey is different there is one main projecting similarity, that which is overcoming some sort of adversity. Not only did the ancestral beings provide the landscape of their homeland; they instituted many of the rules and procedures by which humans in this as area still live by today. The mythological beings of the Dreamtime also created the human beings who were to succeed them on the earth. This concept of Dreamtime, or wangarr, is the basis behind the aboriginal religion. These powerful processes of producing new lives from ancestral beings along with accommodating the acknowledged change is the main force behind a religion that has maintained its relevance in the rapidly changing world of the aborigines. Yolngu Art Forms Art within the world of the Yolngu