Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Learning about Aboriginal Rock Art (Kakadu)

My children were first introduced to Aboriginal culture through introducing Australian history, reading different dreamtime stories and learning about UluruWe recently took road-trip to the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park where we took the opportunity to explore some of the 5,000 recorded and identified Aboriginal art sites that are there. By taking our children to Kakadu to see the aboriginal rock art, we were also about to see the most ancient and authentic art gallery we had ever been too. We were hoping to help  our children understand the rich and proud history of the aboriginal people of Kakadu but we discovered and gained a whole lot more about the world's most ancient living culture.


Books about Kakadu
An interest in Aboriginal rock art has been slowly emerging after we borrowed some books from our local library to read about Kakadu, where some rock art is located. Some of our most favourite picture books have been written about Kakadu, the traditional owners and their culture. These books help tell the story of Kakadu, the seasons, the people, their culture, their history and their way of life. Our favourite books include:

 

Documentary about Kakadu
As the interest grew, my son came across this fantastic documentary about Kakadu that we watched. This documentary takes you through twelve months of the life and death, extreme weather changes, the amazing animals and people who are lucky enough to call Kakadu home. It gives you a deep insight into the traditional owners who work together with the park rangers in order to keep the magic of Kakadu alive. This documentary can be viewed in full on You Tube; Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3 and Episode 4. A Kakadu Study Guide is also available as a free download.


Aboriginal Rock Art
The most visited Aboriginal Rock Art galleries in Kakadu are Nourlangie, Nanguluwur and Ubirr and we were lucky enough to visit Ubirr while we were there.
 

In general, Aboriginal rock art is their way of recording their stories through symbols, also known as iconography, as Aboriginal people do not have their own written language. Depending on where the artist lived, Aboriginal art will vary in character and style so different Aboriginal families will approach art in their own unique way. The rock art paintings are used for recording information about local foods, traditions and dreamtime. It is also used for teaching the next generation about hunting and caring for their land.


For the Aboriginal land owners of Ubirr rock, their paintings tell the story of their country and their people. Just like the dreaming stories, we are privileged that the Aboriginal people are willing to share their ancient stories and lives with us. 


Many of the paintings at Ubirr rock show records of the different foods, an illustrated menu, that the Aboriginal owners would catch and eat such as barramundi and turtles. It also shows the hunting tools they used and their unique artist style. It also records important events in the lives of the traditional owners of Ubirr rock. This is one of the reasons why Kakadu is on the World Heritage list.


Not only were the ancient rock paintings around Ubirr rock just amazing to see but when you reach the top of the rocky outlook, you get this incredible view of Kakadu. You can't help but be taken away by the beauty and vastness of this land.



I hope this has inspired you to get out and find the history that is in your local community so you can gain a better understanding of the past and present. And if you live in my beautiful country Australia, I hope this has inspired you to take your children travelling to see the rich and ancient culture that is alive in our country today and gain a better understand the Aboriginal people and their rich culture. 

You can find more learning resources and information on Australian Aboriginals on my pinterest board.

1 comment:

  1. I love your work Susie, well done! Very helpful and interesting, thank you!

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