We started on an “invigorating winters day” August 2014.
There are stories that take seven days to tell. There are other stories that take you all of your life. Some stories take a long time – do we have the time anymore? Diane Glancy, Cherokee Storyteller. Ref; Diane Glancy, in Thomas King, The Truth about Stories, Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2003, p.122.
The lecture journey began in 1966 at my infancy; to be precise, I was a month old. My knowledge of Aboriginal Art & Design is probably as young. Fortunately, through my work life, I have been exposed to more knowledge about Aboriginal Culture but I would never profess to understanding its depth and complexity yet, or to be able to explain it to a six year old.
I am here to learn.
Why 1966? Because it’s when the decimal currency was released with a $1 note decorated by Aboriginal Art.
“The Australian one dollar note was designed by Gordon Andrews, the design being accepted in April 1964. The note features Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, with the reverse featuring Aboriginal Contemporary Art, created by David Malangi. The artwork depicts the ‘mortuary feast’ of one of the artist’s creation ancestors, Gunmirringu, the great Ancestral Hunter. The Manharrngu people attribute this story as the origin of their mortuary rites.” Edited from WIKI
I was immediately curious about the story of the original art being used without permission and compensation only coming later being seen as rushed but pivotal. It is a subject we still struggle with as a modern society. The issue of piracy and copywrite is prevalent regardless of your heritage or culture. That said, I understand the significance towards an entire race; our lands original people.
This publication will be digested in more detail: http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/55611/Beyond_guarding_ground.pdf
It looks at… “the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.”
Living my life with the philosophy of wisdom, social learning and certainly social media learning, the documentation of my own learning therefore commenced. I wanted to know more. The creative thinking mind kicked in. The process that I used was simple;
a) I opened my eyes and started photographing and Instagramming my findings.
b) I asked my friends on Facebook if they knew of any Adelaide Public Aboriginal Art.
c) I listened to people around me when they spoke of the subject or wrote.
An interesting read: http://nga.gov.au/Exhibition/malangi/Default.cfm?MnuID=6&Essay=2
A few things then happened along my journey.
Firstly, my mother was admitted to hospital emergency. On visiting, I noticed, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is covered in Aboriginal Art (in the weirdest places). I will explore further their legitimacy. Secondly, my Facebook post “went off” with over 50 comments on the subject in 24 hours. Many examples of Aboriginal Art were shared, many resources, links to websites and people for more information. My community was extending the hand of knowledge about a subject. I found when people were asked a serious question on the subject they answered seriously, with joking commentary “apologised for” and/or removed quickly.
Finally, I started reading.