The ancestors of the aboriginal cultures of Australia brought the world into existence as they walked through a formless and infinite space. In their wake, all creation came into being. Along the way they also sang. The song carries with it a meter and rhythm that marks time, and when sung while walking also marks out the space. One way to navigate across a landscape void of numerous markers as guide, the song shows the way. The descendants of the ancestors follow those pathways of original creation which are called ‘Songlines.’
A journey following a Songline is a recreative act, a form of poetic expression. The original beliefs are passed down through stories, from mother to daughter, father to son. Similar to the dry paintings of the Navajo, the subtle and deeper meanings of these stories are not shared outside of the group. The contemporary painting of today’s Aboriginal artist is a representation of those stories but in a much limited way.
My first journey to Australia was a metaphor for my own ‘songlines,’ the way I have traveled through my life. Just as the Songline is a reflection of how the Aborigine see their country, so my photographs are how I experienced a place.
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