synthetic polymer paint on canvas board
35 x 45 cm
Provenance Iwantja Arts & Crafts, N.T Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, NSW
Exhibited: Songlines Coo-ee Christmas 2012, Coo-ee Aboriginal Art Gallery, NSW Sydney December 2012 Story Songlines are paths across the land or the sky which mark the route followed by localised 'creator-beings' during the Dreaming. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.
A knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. In some cases, the paths of the creator-beings are said to be evident from their marks, or petrosomatoglyphs, on the land, such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints.
By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, Indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior. The continent of Australia contains an extensive system of songlines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others traverse hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different Indigenous peoples who may speak markedly different languages and have different cultural traditions.
Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of the song are said to be in those different languages. Languages are not a barrier because the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. The rhythm is what is crucial to understanding the song. Listening to the song of the land is the same as walking on this songline and observing the land.
In some cases, a songline has a particular direction, and walking the wrong way along a songline may be a sacrilegious act (e.g. climbing up Uluru where the correct direction is down). Traditional Aboriginal people regard all land as sacred, and the songs must be continually sung to keep the land "alive". Purchase Details This work, as part of Coo-ee's Christmas show, Songlines: Coo-ee Christmas is available for sale from 3pm the 24th November at the exhibition opening and not before. So first in, best dressed! If you are unable to make the exhibition opening, simply register your interest via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 2 9300 9200. Please send through a 'wish list' of works in preference order and specify how many works in total you want. We will endeavour to get you the works of your choosing but are unable to guarantee this. This exhibition is designed to be a bit of fun for Christmas so I hope you enjoy it. The works will sell out quickly so be sure to get in first.