FirstDogOnTheMoon and Indigenous Art

Over the Christmas break the world renowned Crikey cartoonist, FirstDogOnTheMoon produced the avatar that I use on Twitter. And then he was kind enough to produce a larger version (which after huge amounts of dollars was transferred to a Cayman Islands bank account) now hangs on my wall.

Can you guess which one it is? (click on pic for a larger image)


Have a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon

First posted on my Posterous blog

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Narelle Holland – Aboriginal Artist

Over at Papalankutja Artists is a small profile on artist Narelle Holland.

Narelle has painted country where the emu was hunted. The men would go to the rock hole to spear the emu, using stillness as their weapon. The first layer of paint marks the country and its landmarks, the second layer, a delicate layering of lush cream and white dotting depict the spinifex which camouflages the country. The men have been painted with the raw brush strokes contained in the first layer and the second laying of spinifex and dotting cloaks the men, keeping them hidden from the viewer and the Emu they hunt.

I watched her paint part of this picture:

Narelle Holland

The story is painted then overlaid with dots.

It is quite different to her previous style.



This picture of Narelle’s (above) I like. It is a ‘whitefella’ map of the Lands. The orange lines are the roads leading to orange circles around white dots. Each of these represents a community. All the other rings don’t have any significance.

I like that I can tell this story to my indigenous guests as they look at it with some puzzlement trying to identify the story.

Click on the pictures to obtain a larger view. The last two are from my small collection.

Have a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

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Keela Dreaming Festival

The Keela Dreaming Festival was held earlier this year. It was the 6th biennial year of this successful Indigenous Festival held in Kellerberrin Western Australia.

Keela means ants in the Noongar language.

Even Mary G, the Black Queen of the Kimberley was there. You can see more of Mary G on YouTube

Keela Dreaming Festival 2009 from Community Arts Network WA on Vimeo.

The Department of Culture and the Arts seems to have removed all reference to the Keela Festival from their site. A bit pathetic but there you go.

Miru Sculpture – Warakurna Arts

For my Pleasant Sunday Afternoon post Edwina has kindly allowed me to repost this post from her Warakurna Arts blog “Thriving in the Desert“.

To mark Warakurna Artists fifth year of operation it will be facilitating a powerful intergenerational men’s weaponry craft project. This project will have significant artistic outcomes including the creation of a series of major bronze sculptures.

A key aim of the men’s project is to support a reinvigoration of traditional wooden weaponry production and to immortalise the pieces in bronze. The project will also help celebrate the vibrancy and power of Ngaanyatjarra culture.

Sculptor Brendan Hackett of Blueprint Sculpture Foundry of Melbourne will help to facilitate this important project. Brendan has already collaborated with Ernest Bennett, senior painter and Master carver, to create a bronze miru (spearthrower).

The Bronze Miru is available only as a limited edition of six sculputures. Please contact Warakurna Artists + 61 (0)8 8955 8099 to enquire about the price of this sculpture and to place your order.


Ernest Bennett was born near Warbuton and now lives in Warakurna with his family. His country is Karrku not far from Warakurna.

A miru is extracted with economy as a vertical segment from a living mulga tree, its craftsman then working with the grain to reduce the portion to the thin even leaf, its minimal form following the demands each of its multiple functions.

The miru is the essence of western desert minimalism. As the extension of a man’s arm it will amplify the power and distance that a spear can be hurled. Its leaf-shaped-core doubles as a container for mixing pituri and can carry ochre. Its burnished edge, when rubbed on a softer wood makes fire. Tipped with a freshly napped blade, the same implement is used as a perfectly balanced adze to butcher fresh-cooked kangaroo or to hone an identical weapon, created on its own perfect template.

Ernest Bennett’s Miru has been cast and is poised, as if on the suspension of a rolled-over-motorcar, a vehicles leaf-spring-suspension adapted for a new use. All is kinetic energy – waiting for the target to come within the range of this lethal propellent.

Text courtesy of John Kean, Museum Victoria 2008
Photograph: Alexander Lyne

Note: pituri is more a central Australian term for native tobacco. Out west it is called mingkurlpa. Have a Pleasant Sunday Afternoon.

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