Arts

Aboriginal artists create massive sand paintings with 40 tonnes of sand

The Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute currently has sand paintings (made with 40 tonnes of sand!) on display, and they tell Aboriginal dreaming stories.

This new art exhibition in Adelaide is amazing!

The Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute currently has sand paintings (made with 40 tonnes of sand!) on display, and they tell Aboriginal dreaming stories. The exhibition runs through July 24.

Sand painting and drawing have been part of Aboriginal culture for thousands of years and still are. The sand art tells stories about the dreamtime and creation, marking country and recording history.

With multiple browns tones forming curvilinear patterns,  Tandanya’s sand paintings are not only art, but also beautifully illustrated stories. 

The first, titled “One Man and his Thirteen Wives,” or “Tjukurpa Ngintaka, Wati Kutju, Minyma Tjuta,” was created by artist Derik Lynch Yankunytjatjara, Arrernte, Anmatjere man of Finke Aputula NT. It tells the story of figure Wati Ngintaka, who chased the thirteen sisters across a vast area, from the Flinders Rangers in South Australia and up to Aputula in the southeast of the Northern Territory. He captured them in a cave in the north and made them his wives. They continue to still roam and wonder in the desert country today.

The second is a Warlpiri Country story by Farron Furber, a Warlpiri, Arrernte, Anmatjere man. It depicts the tale of “Budgerigar Dreaming” or “Ngatijirri Jukurrpa.” In the dreaming, a large group of budgerigar birds came to the waterholes from the east and later travelled west in search of water. Each time the flock landed, they performed ceremonies, singing and dancing as they flew and roosted in the trees. Budgerigars are a good source of food in Warlpiri Country, and many follow them to find water. 

Both of the stories will be on display through July 24.

To see the sand paintings from Monday, July 5, visit Tandanya online.

Find the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute at 253 Grenfell Street, Adelaide.

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