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TJUKURPA

TJUKURPA

Tuesday - Saturday

10AM - 4PM

8th July - 7th August 2021

Hallidays Mill Gallery

London Road

Nr Stroud

GL6 8NR

Tjukurpa is the creation period and it forms the basis of all Aboriginal knowledge. It is a complex, all-encompassing belief system that defines religion, law and moral systems for Australia's indigenous people. It comes from their ancient ancestors who created, and brought life to the earth, during what non-indigenous people know as 'Dreamtime', or the 'Dreaming'.

In Aboriginal languages, there are no such words as 'Dreamtime', or 'Dreaming', but these terms have been adopted by non-indigenous people to describe Aboriginal beliefs.

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tjukurpa

&

dreamtime

Dreamtime symbolises the birth of existence for Aboriginal people and the stories are the creationist myth for Aboriginal Australians. The stories of the Dreaming tell of how all living things descend from the Dreamtime ancestors, the Tingari, and how they shaped the earth. They are the ancient ancestors of every Aborigine today.

 

In the beginning, the earth was a flat, desolate surface, which the ancestors broke through. The sun rose, and the land received light for the first time, and the ancestors moved across the land performing rituals and having adventures. When their travels came to an end, they returned to a state of sleep forming features in the land and sky above. These places and landscape features are sacred in Aboriginal life.

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Johnny Jones

1999, Utopia

'Men’s Ceremony'

60 x 45 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Johnny Jones

1999, Utopia

'Men’s Ceremony'

60 x 45 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Johnny Jones

1999, Utopia

'Men’s Ceremony'

60 x 45 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Jeannie Petyarre

1999, Utopia,

'Arnkerrth Awelye'

Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming

55 x 55 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Myrtle Petyarre

1999, Utopia

'Arnkerrth Awelye'

Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming

82 x 56 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Weida Kngwarreye

1999, Utopia

'Arnkerrth Awelye'

Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming

58.5 x 58.5 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Passing on Knowledge

In a culture with no written language, ​Dreaming as a religion has not been passed down through texts, but through a vast network of songs, rituals and celebrations. The tales of the Tingari, the Tingari cycle, have been preserved through the generations under the care of senior tribesmen. Within tribes, each family (or skin group) is assigned a story inspired by a landscape feature. This story is then further divided among individuals who then share their part of the Dreaming story and teach it to their children.

 

Not only did this division system preserve the stories of their ancestors, but it also had a crucial function in helping the survival of the tribes. The stories contained topographical details and knowledge of the land, plants and animals that would have assisted the nomadic tribes in navigating and surviving the outback.

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Tess Napaljarri Ross

'Ceremony'

120 x 147 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Emily Kngwarreye

1995, Utopia

'Awelye, Yam Dreaming'

82 x 56 cm

acrylic on stretched canvas

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Belinda Golder Kngwarreye

'Bush Flowers'

134 x 100 cm

acrylic on Dallas Cotton

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Margaret Turner  Petyarre

'Rain Storm'

141 x 133 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Emily Kngwarreye

1995, Utopia

'Awelye, Yam Dreaming'

82 x 56 cm

acrylic on stretched canvas

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Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri

'Lakes Near Nyrippi'

95 x 94 cm

acrylic on canvas

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SACRED

SECRETS

In-depth knowledge of Tingari business is still very secretive, however, there are a few public stories that do not disclose sacred knowledge, and these give outsiders a glimpse into Aboriginal spiritual life. Tingari-related designs, such as those used in body and sand paintings, are usually considered "dear" rather than "dangerous" to share with non-indigenous people.

 

This is partly why so many artists have concentrated on Tingari stories in paintings. They typically contain a network of roundels which often signify sites, interlinked by lines that represent travel. These are a map of their lands and the journeys of their ancient ancestors.

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William Sandy

born c. 1944

'My Country'

 198 cm x  129 cm 

acrylic on linen canvas

preserving Culture

Although Tjukurpa encompasses stories of the past, it also refers to the present and the future; it describes the relationship between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. Tjukurpa is knowledge, and it is ever-evolving, while not forgetting how these relationships came to be, what they mean and how they should be maintained.

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Minnie Pwerle

1999, Utopia,

'Awelye Atwengerrp'

(Bush Melon Dreaming)

97.5 x 60 cm,

acrylic on canvas

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Tommy Jones

1999, Utopia

'Men’s Ceremony'

91 x 61 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Nancy Petyarre

1999, Utopia

'Arnkerrth'

(Mountain Devil Lizard Dreaming)

82 x 55 cm,

acrylic on canvas

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Jasmine Coe

2021

'Honeybee Hive’

50 x 50 cm,

acrylic on canvas

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Pauline (Polly) Ngale

1999, Utopia

Awelye

Bush Plum Dreaming

76 x 30 cm

acrylic on canvas

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Jasmine Coe

2021

'Earth with Honeybees’

50 x 50 cm,

acrylic on canvas

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TJUKURPA

Tuesday - Saturday

10AM - 4PM

8th July - 7th August 2021

Hallidays Mill Gallery

London Road

Nr Stroud

GL6 8NR

Please wear a mask in the gallery unless you have a health condition that prevents you from doing so.

Social distancing rules apply, hand sanitiser is provided.

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Aboriginal Art UK is a proud member of The Indigenous Art Code, set up to establish ethical practices for indigenous Art in Australia.