Free for educational use
Year of production - 1988
Duration - 2min 1sec
Tags - Aboriginal art, Australian landscape, Indigenous Australia, The Dreaming, art, change and continuity, culture, identity, land, traditions, see all tags
How to Download the Video Clip
To download a free copy of this Video Clip choose from the options below. These require the free Quicktime Player.
Premium MP4 dreamings_pr.mp4 (14.9MB).
Broadband MP4 dreamings_bb.mp4 (7.0MB), suitable for iPods and computer downloads.
You can buy this clip on a compilation DVD.
You can buy the program this clip comes from.
About the Video Cliptop
Dreamings, Through Indigenous Art is an excerpt from the film Dreamings – The Art of Aboriginal Australia (30 mins), produced in 1988.
The art of Aboriginal Australia is celebrated in Dreamings as we journey into the sacred heartland of Australia to see traditional artists at work. The artists talk of their work, its association with the land and its spiritual connection with their people, the animals and plants. The film explores the meanings behind the works, from acrylic dot paintings of the Central Desert to cross-hatched bark paintings and burial poles of northern Australia, as it allows the viewer access to the oldest continuous art tradition in the world.
Dreamings – The Art of Aboriginal Australia is a Film Australia National Interest Program.
There are several different major Aboriginal art styles, including X-Ray and cross-hatching, and the one seen in this film, the dot style from Central Australia.
Aboriginal art was traditionally created on bodies, in the dirt, on trees or artefacts, and on rocks. In the 1970s school teacher Geoffrey Bardon encouraged the Papunya Tula people of Central Australia to use acrylic paint on canvas, boards and cloth, which triggered an explosion of traditional and new Indigenous art and an increasing respect for and recognition of it among non-Indigenous Australians.
Aboriginal art works reflect *culture and environment and are often created as a co-operative work.
Dreaming stories tell about how and when the earth, as Aboriginal people know it, was made. Dreaming stories are passed from one generation to the next through songs, dances and art.
*culture – (distinctive) practices and beliefs of a society or group of people
- View the video clip then discuss in class and make notes of the following:
- Comment on how the painting being created by artist Michael Nelson Tjakamarra represents the land and the features within it, such as the representation of his people, or “skin group”.
- Describe the artist’s aim or purpose in creating the painting.
- What role is Tjakamarra fulfilling as a member of his skin group, as an educator and as the father of his own children?
- Define the way in which the filmmakers of the video clip use the elements of filmmaking itself to draw a link or connection between the natural landscape and traditional art. What purpose do you think this has for us as an audience?
- Invite an Indigenous artist, or an Aboriginal gallery owner to class to show and discuss Indigenous art.
- In pairs research examples of traditional Australian Indigenous art that derive from a specific locality or geographic region. Prepare an informative written and illustrated report of about 500–700 words discussing the various features of the art, and the ways in which it expresses elements of the Dreaming.
Go to Australian Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission website HREOC
Rosemary Kowanko, Aboriginal Art and the Dreaming, Curriculum Resources, South Australia, 1994
Adele Pring, Aboriginal Artists in South Australia, Curriculum Resources, South Australia, 1998