Outback storytelling through art

Outback storytelling through art

In the middle of the desert we sat waiting, waiting to be taken on an incredible journey with a dark-skinned lady who wanted to share her gift, knowledge and experience with the world.

We gathered around her as she unscrolled the colourful piece of work. Patches of bright colours orange, yellow and white covered the Hessian cloth. The piece was full of symbols and told a story. She explained the U shapes represented people sitting around the sacred site. Through her eyes the story was told and with the magic of acrylic paint this barren land had been transported onto the canvas.

Her fingertips touched the red dirt as she introduced us to a different form of storytelling and art. Circles were drawn representing places and lines to show animal tracks of dingoes and kangaroos. The story was shown with a few symbols, a story of life and the environment where she lived.

 ‘Your turn to tell your story,’ she said.

A shiver went up my spine. I loved the idea of the world of storytelling and art combined. I believe there are stories all around us and I am interested in the way we share this with the world whether it be through art, dance, music, drama or whatever touches your heart and soul. The world of storytelling will always exist in some shape or form. Excited by these thoughts I headed to my table ready to paint.

Inspired by the world around me, I thought about what I wanted to share. I had travelled from my home place, Melbourne, by the bay, so the first symbol was water. Five little containers of paints had been put on the table, blue, red, yellow, green and white. I painted a blue circle to show the beginning of my travel journey. The other large circle that I painted on my page was to represent a sacred place, Uluru. I used a stick to paint the tiny white dots representing the stars in the magical night sky. There was something special about this place. I watched my painting be created on the black paper. The story continued to evolve as a patch of green dots were added and lines to represent people enjoying their time at the sacred site. The sun was painted on the other side of my picture as I wanted to convey a sense of heat and dryness in the storytelling.

We were asked to group in a circle so artwork could be seen and stories shared. I looked at the colourful pieces that had been placed together each was unique. I was handed the wana, a digging stick as I stood over my piece of artwork and told my story.

This story I had formed in my mind had not been transported to pages in a book but instead it had been displayed in a magical way through paint. At the end of the session I felt inspired and enlightened.

Thank you to the lovely lady for this experience. It has allowed me to see in different ways and enrich my storytelling and experience of life.

Spread sunshine and inspiration

Juliet x

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