Friday, August 27, 2004

Rocket art

Yesterday I went in to the South Australian Museum with my colleague Geoff Spiers, who has redesigned the Woomera Heritage Centre. We wanted to find the photograph and artefact collections of A.B. Jay, one of the last Native Patrol Officers at the Woomera Rocket Range. The curator told me of a painting in the Museum depicting depicting an ELDO rocket. The painting was done by one of the Arnhem Land Yunupingu family in 1967, when there was an ELDO tracking station up there. It is an extraordinary piece of work. As it is unlabelled, you wouldn't necessarily recognise the motifs unless you were already aware of its subject. And I knew nothing of it because I am a stone tool person, not a rock art person! (Indeed I have always found rock art rather boring, but I suppose they think the same of stone tools). Aboriginal art contains many depictions of Macassarese trepangers and European ships, and it hadn't occurred to me to look towards art to investigate the interaction of Aboriginal people with the space age.

1 comment:

  1. Your friend spells his way in a very good way. That's all I've got. You sound interesting.