CULTURE, ART & LITERATURE Aboriginal Australian Culture WARM-UP Dividetevi in quattro gruppi. Ogni gruppo cerca su internet una delle seguenti informazioni sulla popolazione aborigena dell Australia. Scrivete le informazioni alla lavagna. WRITING GROUP WORK 1. 2. 3. 4. 38 The Aboriginal flag and its meaning Aboriginal tribes and languages Origin of the name Aboriginals Where Australian Aboriginals live today 60,000 years of Aboriginal culture Aboriginal culture dates back to between 60,000 to 80,000 years ago, when Aboriginals first settled in Australia. They have no written language so, in order to pass on their cultural stories through the generations, they use symbols in their artwork . Their art is therefore centred on storytelling, which tells about the land, events and beliefs of the Aboriginal people. Aboriginal dreamtime and dreaming Dreamtime is a term used to describe the very existence of the Aboriginals and is the foundation of Aboriginal religion and culture. It was a time at the very beginning of the universe during which the natural world animals, trees, hills, rivers, human beings was created by spirits. Dreaming explains how things were created: why a rock is in a certain place or has a particular shape, why the moon returns full every month, how kangaroos got their tails . Dreaming also states the rules of Aboriginal culture and how one must behave in certain circumstances. These beliefs are explained in the Dreaming stories, which, for example, teach not to hurt animals, how to welcome strangers, or how to use and protect the land. GLOSSARY 80 artwork: opera d arte to behave: comportarsi belief: credo bush: foresta dot: punto flow: flusso to hurt: ferire, fare male to settle: stabilirsi source: fonte, risorsa to sustain: sostenere tail: coda treasure: tesoro very: stessa waterhole: pozza Symbolism in Aboriginal art The symbolism of Aboriginals has a long tradition. One of its most fascinating aspects is the use of dot painting: dots symbolise stars and light, but they are also used to hide sacred meanings from white men. The fundamental symbols are: the flow of water: since Australia s outback is dry, running water is a treasure for several communities. The lines represent a storm that brings precious water to the dry lands; the Goanna: this ancient reptile is a frequent subject because it is an important source of food for indigenous communities; the snake: it is a major character in many Aboriginal art stories, as the symbol of strength and the serpent of creation; the waterhole : it is so fundamental in desert survival that it is considered a sacred place and very often represented in artworks; the Mimih spirits: they were the original spirits who taught Aboriginal people many of the skills they needed to survive in the bush and also ceremonies, dances and songs. The Mimihs are rarely seen by humans, but their presence is felt in rocks, trees and caves.