Desert Dreamscapes: Contemporary Aboriginal Paintings
from the
Collection of Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan at the Holter Museum of Art - Page 12



Sandhills at Tjiturrulpa, Eileen Napaltjarri, 72” x 60” Kintore, 2005

The shimmering, dancing, dazzling abstraction in Aboriginal paintings is clearly meant to evoke the power of the Dreaming and the positive benefits it confers on its owners: health and well-being, social cohesion, the seasonal renewal of natural resources, etc.

For Aboriginal people the Dreaming is not just a creation time, which simply ended, leaving behind mythological stories to explain their origins. The Dreaming is believed to continue on, on a parallel track alongside the reality we see with our eyes, informing the world as it goes forward — reenergized by ceremonial performance and in turn reenergizing human culture and the natural cycles. Aboriginal people, being hunter-gatherers are extraordinarily observant of nature and the central Australian landscape — the shimmering heat and light of midday, the rising and setting of heavenly bodies at dawn and dusk, the glowing light effects on the rock formations as sun lowers in the western sky — all take on a magical quality out bush.  Camping in the bush I’ve often felt how easy it would be to see these observable phenomena, as manifestations of the Dreaming, existing just behind yet informing observable reality. By depicting the sandhills here suffused in a shimmering haze of heat and light, the artist asserts that this glowing landscape is still activated by the power of the Dreaming.