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Eddie Blitner
Dreamtime Creatures

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Aboriginal dreamtime relates to the period when the earth was just being formed, and Ancestral Beings walked among Aborigines, teaching them law and ceremony and the discipline which was to rule their lives. They could change their shape and become different creatures including possum, water goanna, crocodile and barramundi, or metamorphose into rocks, hills or other natural phenomena. All these creatures are subjects of song and dance Ceremonies. In the Dreamtime an Ancestral Being called Yingana came from across the sea to the shores of Arnhem Land, she had the ability, as had all Ancestral Beings, to change shape at will, and this was usually into that of a Rainbow Serpent, so that she could travel long distances either underground or concealed by grass and bushes. Her son, Ngalyod who is the most important, often travelled throughout Arnhem Land creating many sacred sites including many billabongs near the Stone Country between Oenpelli and Maningrida.

One of these myths, which is told in song and dance cycles, concerns the Ancestral Being who was out walking through the bush one day when he quickly turned his head and saw two hunters with spears upraised. He ran towards a billabong and changed into Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent. When the two men peered into the water Ngalyod reared up and bit each one in turn, killing them immediately. Emerging from the waterhole he changed back into his human shape, then to avoid further danger transformed himself into a brolga and flew up into the air. Winging his way through the sky, he saw below him a group of brolgas dancing on the plains. He flew down and joined them and decided to stay with them until it was time to die. Another story tells of two sisters who were going to the billabong at Yellow Waters, near Ngukkurr, (Yugal-Mangii). Here they commenced dancing but were warned by the tribe not to dance there. But the women did not listen to them and kept going there. This upset the rainbow serpent who changed them into brolga birds, and they are forever dancing at the billabong.

Crocodile was once a man who grew dissatisfied with living in his hot and dry surroundings, so he changed into a crocodile and gnawed his way through the Liverpool Ranges, finding the sea on the other side. He loved the feel of the saltwater so much that he decided to stay there forever.

A large male kangaroo called Nadulmi created and performed a sacred ritual called the Ubar Ceremony. The ceremony was begun by the women, with Karurrken the female kangaroo as the ritual caller and her women doing the singing and dancing. At that time women had the most power spiritually.

After a time, the men became very disgruntled and told Kolobbarr that they should be the most important ones, so Kolobbarr went up to the ceremonial ground and told Karurrken that the voices of herself and her women were not strong enough and the roles were to be reversed. Although unhappy with this, Karurrken consoled her women by telling them that they had one supreme advantage over the men – women were the only ones who could bear children and were therefore more important than men.

Eddie Blitner
Dreamtime Creatures

C/No. 16547 – 95 x 100 cm Acrylic on Linen

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AUD $ 3,500.00

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