It’s impossible to put a hardcover binding around these stories.
There is no book.
Passed down over 50,000-years without any written language, storytelling highlights the importance of art for Aboriginal Australians in expressing their heritage, laws and spirituality using traditional and sacred symbolism.
From marriage and movement to hunting and who to joke with, every element of society and culture is governed by the strict rules of their belief system, the Dreaming or Jukurrpa. Painting too is regulated with only one particular group or family allowed to illustrate certain stories of their specific Jukurrpa and country.
Rocks and caves across the continent feature diverse works of art telling stories of the Jukurrpa dating back thousands of years. So to with contemporary Australian Aboriginal art. From the tropical Tiwi islands to the dust of the Central Desert, markedly different styles painted with natural ochers and acrylics continue this rich tradition presented much like mysterious aerial maps of amazing design, form and colour.
In some respects it seems almost unfitting to frame these paintings. These are depictions of ancient stories, a vibrant visual narrative of profound complexity. But the artist has been given permission from elders to share their heritage. They understand and encourage others to admire the artwork and interpret their story in a distant space, in another time and with a different perspective.