Aboriginal art

thank you

Welcome to Country Ceremony in Belgrave
Wurundjeri Elder and Educator Uncle Bill Nicholson and family

Yesterday Tony and I attended the Survival Day gathering in Belgrave to celebrate the survival and spirit of Aboriginal people and culture. Thank you to Wurundjeri elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson and his family for welcoming us to Country. And thank you to artist, Safina Stewart, for 'Heaven Came Down' and for taking the time to share your stories with us. 

The Wurundjeri via   www.begravesurvivalday.org

The land that Belgrave Survival Day falls upon is part of the Wurundjeri nation that lived here for tens of thousands of years before the colonial settlers re-named the area Belgrave in the late 19th century.
The Wurundjeri country covered a huge expanse of what is now metropolitan Melbourne: from the inner city to the Werribee river; south east as far as Mordialloc creek and over to Healesville. The Wurundjeri nation spoke Woi-wurrung language and were part of the wider Kulin nation comprising five language groups.  Two social totems governed Wurundjeri: the Crow (in Woi-wurrung Waang) and Bundjil the Eagle Hawk.
Many Aboriginal nations were named after specific geographical features of their land. The wordWurundjeri is derived from the Woi wurrung word Wurun referring to the river white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Jeri is the grub that resides within that specific (ribbon gum) tree.
The Wurundjeri clan that inhabited the Melbourne area would often spend the summer months upon the banks of the Yarra and its tributaries. In winter, they would often head to the Dandenong Ranges (known as Banyenong) to make use of its timber for firewood and shelter. Wurundjeri divided their year into seven seasons rather than the familiar four. The arrival of a new season was based on the onset of a natural event such as the blooming of wattle or the first appearance of the blue wren.
For more information about the Wurundjeri nation, please contact:
Koorie Heritage Trust at 295 King St, City on (03) 8622 2600 or www.koorieheritagetrust.com

Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation Cultural Heritage       
 E: wurundjericouncil@yahoo.com.au  P: (03) 9416 2905 

Heaven Came Down by Safina Stewart
of Maulag Island, Torres Strait and Wuthathi Country, QLD
'Bunjil, the wedge tail eagle, 

represents the One who formed and gave life to all creation'

I Paint Like I'm Dreaming - Shireen Malamoo

Spirit Figures series - Women of Plantation Creek
Shireen Malamoo
Shireen Malamoo is an Aboriginal-Kanak elder and leader from the traditional people of the Birrigubba tribe in the Ayr and Burdekin region of Queensland and highly respected senior Aboriginal artist. via 
Born into the slave trade in Northern Queensland, where Islanders and Aboriginals were forced to work on cane farms, Shireen Malamoo made a break one day. 

“I decided to get up one morning and paint,” she said. “I thought to myself ‘I’m going to paint a bathroom’ but I never did.”

Instead of austere domestic still-life pieces, Shireen opted for something more pivotal, more profound as the subject of her work. “They are spirit people,” she said. “They’re all around us.”
Propped up against her walls in her Redfern home, her paintings feature elongated and faceless figures, almost African in their silhouettes but shrouded with Aboriginal influence in colours and the use of lines for visual framing.
Shireen’s Aboriginal father, and her mother who originated from Vanuatu, are obvious influences. As is her upbringing in a tough Pentecostal community she explained, which was touched by the witchcraft of the Aboriginal and Vanuatu people.
“They were tough people but they dressed for church and had a strong influence of witchcraft.”
It is perhaps her exposure to spiritual transcendence that allows her to broach a subject matter many people only consider in the deep roots of their subconscious. “The spirits I paint are of people in trauma; like the blackfellas in the community around here. I capture the universal,” she said.
“It’s almost like you’re dreaming what you’re painting. I don’t draw on my canvas. I paint like I’m dreaming. It would be peculiar to most artists.”
The respected Indigenous leader, who was a Commissioner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, is reveling in the appreciation. “Art brings you back to the edge. It brings you to the spiritual and makes you a little careful,” she said. “To explore this at a tatty age: I’m rich.” South Sydney Morning Herald

Shireen Malamoo at Sydney Town Hall after the council voted to include the word invasion in council documents
Spirit Figures Series - Cultural Strut
Spirit Figures series - Vulnerability of Family Life

Spirit Country series - Celebration of Difference

Mabel Juli and her Moon Dreaming

The winner for the Kate Chaillis RAKA Award 2013, Mabel Juli.
Mabel Juli with her painting Garnkeny Ngarranggarni (Moon Dreaming)  Photo Eddi Jim
I have been swimming deep in the mysteries of Lilith this past month especially after the ceremony we held at the Magdalene Laundries. And so many sisters have been coming to me to journey to their own past life Lilith stories and wound to clear and release the bindings from it.  Lilith as been showing her face to me everywhere I turn.
And I saw her here too in Australia when I was drawn to the Dreamtime painting Moon Dreaming by Aboriginal artist, Mabel Juli. Mabel's painting recently won the Kate Challis RAKA Award and is part of the current exhibition: Under the Sun showing in Melbourne at the Ian Potter Museum of Art. 
I have been fascinated by this beautiful painting, so minimal and yet so potent. I see such a similarity to the astrological symbol of Black Moon Lilith. Even the Dreamtime story has many Lilith undertones and themes:
''The moon as a man went hunting kangaroo, and left his wife and mother-in-law at home in the camp. When he came back he saw a woman with her long hair hanging down. It was the mother-in-law and he wanted to marry her; he didn't want his wife any more.''

The people of the camp told him to leave and to take his ''right-way wife''. As he walked, the moon turned and cursed them, telling them they would die, while he would return each month.' Mabel Juli

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/shining-light-on-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-20130814-2rwur.html#ixzz2jAU2BV00

The Knowing - Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy

Indigenous painting The knowing by Murray Djeripi

The Knowing

With sensitivity comes greater understanding, from greater understanding comes finer clarity. Only with a timeless patience, a connective sensitivity and a deeper willingness to understand and see the relevance of all creation come the knowing.
This painting shows a people who were connected to their mother while in the embrace of their father.

Historical painting Elders are our embers by Muraay Djeripi

Elders are our embers

This beautiful symbolic painting is deep in its explanations of the complex culture that spawned it. Loving, nurturing, respectful and whole are all words that best describe this piece and the culture it portrays.

Each part of a whole

A fine detailed painting with incredible relevance for today. This work is another in Peters own indigenous knotting series. This artwork tells of the story of the core beliefs in “Indigenous Australia”. Why respect was at the heart of every thought and decision
What Baayama has entrusted to you I have no right to disrupt, disturb or disrespect.
Historical painting Mainly spirit by Muraay Djeripi

Mainly Spirit

We must continue to remind ourselves that we are spirit first, that we are a part of the all. Our old people knew it and lived it.
They really understood life as a continuation, there’s no gaps in time and there’s no gaps in creation. There’s just the one. In both space and time, we share the same moment and place with all before us.
We do well to know they are with us, so we remember our respect for them, the land and each other.
The physical world is simply a shadow covering our spirit.....
We are strong when we know this.


This vision is two spirit ancestors watching over me. They circle me, keeping me true to what I know and what is expected of me. They came as eagles to represent strength and invoke a feeling of awe. Their effortless flight teaches us of life and how when we allow ourselves to be one with spirit, the flow of life is continual and without effort.
My ancestors allow me to know that I am on tract and not alone. Someone to look up to and live up to. We are never alone and that is our strength.

Birth of the Butterflies

A truly beautiful story depicting the true philosophical nature of our Indigenous people. In the time when death did not exist, creation was suddenly forced to consider it for the first time. After turning to their leaders, clever ones and most wise. The answers to the mystery of life, death and reincarnation were carried on the wings of the lowly insects, Birth of the Butterflies.

All artwork and stories from: www.aboriginalaustralianart.com