Today, we went to see the Arnhemland Aboriginal rock art. We all woke up super early and none of the noisy Cockatoos were up yet, so it was very quiet and peaceful. We ate breakfast, and then all piled into one of the Land Cruisers and drove to the front gate. The morning was really cold, but it was really fun driving through the outback and seeing all the animals like, Buffalo, Cockatoos and Wallabies. When we got to the front gate, we met up with our guide, Dean.
We drove for about two hours and stopped at the Aboriginal Art Center to see how some of the native Aborigines still make art. We saw women sewing, men painting on bark and people making screen drawings. After we went into the gallery to see some of the finished work, we walked to the base of this beautiful mountain where we were able to see the actual ancient rock art on a number of the rock walls.
We got out and met our guide Toma and walked with him up a winding, rocky and steep walkway up the hill. I thought, Cool! I love stuff like this. We stopped at a small flat area and saw the first painting. It was of a family and was pretty neat to see that 12-20,000 years ago people painted and used art to tell stories, teach, and just make beautiful art. After taking a bunch of photos of the artwork, we headed up to see even more paintings.
The second painting made the first one look like something painted on a rock. Oh, wait, it was painted on a rock. You get the point, the second was super cool, super detailed and huge. There were people, fish, kangaroos and spirits all painted on one rock. It was amazing! It made a Van Gogh painting look dull.
It was interesting to lay under the artwork and see some of it. After taking more pictures, we walked to the next painting which was of an evil spirit. It was said that if you slept by the evil spirit, you would get sick for five days. We kept looking at more and more incredible paintings.
To get to some paintings, we had to walk through narrow canyons that looked like something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
We eventually came to a small rocky area where bunch of rocks and sticks were centered around a small carved out dish. We learned that all of the sticks and stones were tools for carving, or used as paintbrushes. The dish was a smoothed out area used to house the paint. We learned that some of the paints came from animal blood, but if the painter couldn’t find a dead animal, they would stab themselves for red (blood) paint. Gross!
After that, we headed up to a very high point on the mountain and ate lunch using a rock for our table. From our lunchroom we could see the whole mountain and we could also see for many miles out in the horizon.
To get home, we went to the little airstrip in the Aboriginal town and got on a tiny little charter plane and flew back to Bamurru and Brooke got to co-pilot the plane!
It was a really interesting day learning about the history of the Aboriginal people and their means of storytelling through art, and that this all was created 20,000 years ago!