Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 28 Autumn 2011 Contents input to make it work – and sometimes a community may not want
to share their knowledge, which of course is their right.”
There are concerns for local people about what’s happening to sites,
particularly in the Pilbara, and the solution may not lie in simply
uprooting a rock art panel and putting it out of the way of a minesite.
“Rock art is intricately tied to the landscape,” Dr Brady says.
“When an artist created an image on a boulder or a shelter wall, the
perma nence of the site was a factor in its production. The image or
symbol is relevant to where it was made, where the rock lies. By
moving rock art, you alter that relationship between image, site a nd
its location in the landscape. It comes down to a community decision
about whether it is proper to relocate rock art to somewhere less
appropriate than its creation point and not that of industry.”
He acknowledges, however, that despite the sensitivity of many
sites, there is a growing interest in the wider community in visiting
them. “It’s all about respect, acknowledging a site’s importance. For
instance, in Kakadu National Park, there are two rock art sites that
are open to the public. They’re remarkable, incredible sites and people
are able to view them easily,” he says. “There’s potential for the same
kind of approach to work here in WA, with the awareness that the
risks of gra ffiti or vandalism may occur. So, proper management of
the sites needs to be in place, as it is in Kakadu.”
Although the term ‘rock art’ is used loosely, there were various
production techniques used across the country, according to Dr Brady.
For instance, the visibly dominant engravings from the Pilbara were
pecked or abraded out of the rock by another rock or, occasionally, a
metal tool. Paintings were created using ground-up ochres and clays
mixed with water, blood and saliva. In some areas, including parts of
the Kimberley, moulded beeswax was used to create images.
The subjects depicted represent the kaleidoscope of life that the
artists experienced, from sea animals found in the Torres Strait,
canoes and x-ray fish, to inland artists’ versions of land animals.
There is the so-called ‘contact rock art’, showing introduced subject
matter that appeared with the arrival of non-indigenous visitors to
their land, an event so stunning to a community that it warranted
recording forever on the a ncient land of their fathers.
There are abstract images, too, representing identity, religion,
ceremony and ritual, as well as prosaic representations of daily life.
“In one cave... in the Northern Territor y, we recently lea rned that a
painting of a snubfin dolphin was created in the 1800s,” says Dr Brady,
“which the artist painted because it was his meal of the day.”
There is still much to learn about Australia’s rock art, he explains.
“There are still only a handful of rock art specialists in the country,
but we’re hoping to change that by training the next generation at
UWA. If we can train students and the public in understanding the
significance and importance of this heritage, then hopefully we can
contribute to its long-term protection and conservation.”
Some communities Dr Brady has worked within have looked to
him to help their voices be heard, raising their profile against the
often louder voices of big industry.
“The fact is rock art is still very relevant. Yes, some is very old, but,
equally, it’s an artform that is still being created today. I’ve spoken to
the artists themselves and, in some cases, am struck by the fact that
what they create can build a cultural bridge to the broader Australian
public. When you think about it, what they’re making today is a
direct link to people from hundreds or thousands of years ago
and there aren’t many artforms that can achieve that.”
Home Interior Design Consultants
Display Furniture Leasing
Phone: 08 9240 6273 eMail: email@example.com
740 Designs offers a furniture hire service
for all types and styles of vacant properties.
We provide only the highest calibre of
display furniture to give properties for sale
an inspiring personality and style.
Links Archive Insite 27 Summer 2010 SHA 29 Winter 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page