Even though I have travelled to most of the places in the world that I wanted to, my recent trip to the great North of my country has stayed with me like no other. The paintings that have come from this trip are reminiscent of the lines and linkages in traditional Aboriginal art. I am very conscious that these paintings are “through the eyes of the white man”. I hope my Aboriginal friends understand that these paintings come from a sense of awe and astonishment at the depth of their ancient culture. Now, instead of thinking about another trip to Paris or wherever, now I think of returning to Northern Australia. That is my white man dreaming.
I am haunted by seeing the northern edge of my country, particularly the Kimberley region and Kakadu. You can travel the world and see the great centres of human culture and that’s fine but the Deep North is something else. There was no road access to the lodge we stayed at in the Kimberley…so we sat crammed in a light plane and watched the miles and miles of plains and rivers pass by below. Once there, we spent days exploring the waterholes around the Berkeley River and the great sandstone gorge it snakes through.
Kakadu was more populated with tourists but equally mind-altering in its grandeur and untouchability. Both places felt as if the Dreamtime storylines continue to sing to sensitive ears. Our aboriginal guides wanted us to hear the distant voices of ancient time.
Maybe we did.
Recently we travelled to Kakadu and saw the ancient aboriginal rock art as the sun set on the distant horizon. Having travelled to many places in the wider world, it was a very special experience to see this part of our country. The ancient rock art reminds you of the highest, most authentic meaning art can offer you. Whatever it was, it was the opposite of art as commodity. It was art as spirituality, art as ultimate reality, art as going as far as the human soul can go. Despite being part of a tourist industry, the profound authenticity of the rock art and the magic of this landscape of river and rock made a great impression on us. You should go. These shots are from Ubirr.