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  • Writer's pictureHelen Avaient

Hunter Dreaming - Aboriginal Art Exhibition

Beautiful aboriginal works of art in different mediums are on display in a great exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre, from 15 June - 26 July 2020.

I acknowledge and respect the Traditional custodians of the land.

From traditional dot paintings to modern artist interpretations, the works cover a range of styles and topics.

My 2 favourites in the exhibit were modern pieces both by the same artist.

Tamisha Williams was born in Port Hedland, Western Australia in 1996. Chilling Out Ngurra 2019 a gicelee print, which is fine art digital print printed on a inkjet printer. Tamisha started painting at eight years old and is a role model in her community, working with youth.

My interpretation of the striking piece is that the young person could be either female or male, and surrounded by tradition whilst embracing technology. Caught between two worlds, yet at peace with both. An edition of 3 pictures sells for $600

The second amazing piece was also by Tamisha Williams, Love Heart 2019. This is also a gicelee print. Surrounded by the traditional hand prints, a shadow in the window shows hands forming a heart. One hand the past, one hand the future, showing love in the present. Or possibly one hand symbolising the indigenous people, one hand symbolising white Australians, and two coming together in love. An edition of 3 pictures sells for $350.

Maureen Nelson's 3D sculptures are made of metal, plastic and acrylic paint. Maureen was born in Amanta Western Australia in 1973. Her work tells stories of the local community. Joyrider 2020 was already sold for $1,098.

Maruka Arts and Crafts installation from Ulura in the Northern Territory . A group of minyma yarnagu (Aboriginal women), one from each different community supplied a traditional puna. Puna means living wood and are expressions of Country. These bowls are tools that have been used daily for centuries. They are beautifully shaped, reflecting the patterns of the wood. The items were not for sale.

A collection of digging sticks has been provided by various artists, costing between $100 - $244 each. Most are made of mulga wood which comes from a small tree native to arid outback areas of Australia. Sometimes called a yam stick, they could be used to dig out underground food, such as roots and tubers. They could also be used to dig out burrowing animals and for hunting.

According to Dreamtime stories, the Wandjina were sky beings. These spirits from the clouds came down from the heavens and created the earth and its inhabitants. People ask, if the aboriginals are dark skinned, why are the Wandjina white, with no mouths and such large eyes? Could they be ancient astronauts? Today, only certain aboriginal people are given permission to paint Wandjina, and are to be treated respectfully, or natural catastrophes will occur.

John Sara lives in Dunsborough, Western Australia and has been creating art all his life. His paintings are uniquely styled and depict stories of his people, culture, spirituality and country. Noongar People and Culture 2019 is acrylic on canvas 120cm x 120cm and is for sale for $8,600.

Another art medium is created by weaving local grasses to create art. In the second picture below you can see the different materials used.

The exhibit focuses on Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri who was born in the Northern Territory in 1929 and died in 1984 at the age of 55. He was a strong cultural warrior for his community.

There are many paintings in the of Tim's that have been loaned for this exhibit.

The two paintings below were donated on behalf of all Nyoongar people to the City of Fremantle and the City of Wanneroo (both near Perth).

Hunter Dreaming and Aboriginal people meeting white people at the Swan River were painted in Perth in 1978-79. This is the first time the artworks have been presented together.

Hunter Dreaming recounts the travels of the artist’s father and grandfather. It is ochres on canvas 103 x 143cm.

In Aboriginal people, when the “Englishmen” were seen for the first time, they were mistakenly believed to be returned ancestors. The aboriginals laid down their weapons as a sign of peace. Acrylic paint on canvas on board 76.5 x 109cm.

The exhibit held in the beautiful Fremantle Arts Centre is an enjoyable educational experience and definitely recommended.

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