Ancestral Forces in Contemporary Indigenous Australian Women's Art: 3 Case Studies of Multi-dimensional Cultural Heritage Knowledge
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The transition from ephemeral, ceremonial art to more permanent acrylic-on-board paintings has made Australian Aboriginal art more accessible to the public than ever before. However, early examples contained secret/sacred motifs and stories - knowledge recorded in the paintings that was normally only made available to initiates. In turn, this prompted contemporary Australian Aboriginal artists to hide, camouflage or remove the sensitive material from their work. It is only recently, through inter-gender and inter-cultural collaborations between contemporary Indigenous Australian artists and non-indigenous ethnographers and anthropologists, that the full ramifications of this transition is becoming apparent. This paper discusses 3 case studies where the traditional expression of Kuruwarri, or Ancestral power, has been transformed through contemporary Australian Aboriginal women's art.