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Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia
A Film by Janet Bell & Michael Riley
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DREAMINGS is a journey to the scarred heartlands and lush mangroves of Australia, where Aboriginal artists keep alive their ancient and traditional forms. With breathtaking cinematography, the film explores the sacred, stylized imagery of their artwork.

An integral part of the 40,000 year old belief system of the Aborigines, "dream" painting and sculptures depict psychic and historic landscapes with immense power and abstract beauty. From dot paintings of the Central Australian desert to cross hatched bark paintings and burial poles from the Top End, these works are unique to the landscape and culture of Australia.

Showing Aboriginal artists at work in their native environments, DREAMINGS explores the meaning and mystical significance behind these evocative works, the significance of which the rest of the world has just begun to recognize.

2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

" * * * * [4 out of 4 stars]! Highly Recommended! Spectacular! Both a scholarly and creative production, and a high caliber of research is evident. The film radiates with power and authenticity, and would certainly enhance any art, anthropological, or cultural studies video collection."—Laura C. Polk, Video Rating Guide for Libraries

"Handsomely photographed, this is an interesting view of an art form that is presently finding wide acceptance in galleries and museums around the world."—Landers Film & Video Reviews

"The artists speak for themselves or are photographed silently working their 'dreamings' in artistic media. Personal, clan, and generational symbols are briefly reviewed. The video makers survey several regional styles... Clearly, there are esoteric aspects that can never be conveyed to the uninitiated, but the makers of this video do quite a nice job of imparting some of the esoteric aspects of this art... a good introduction."—L.B. Smith, Choice

"Rich and allusive. Very informational."—Sightlines


30 minutes / color
Copyright: 1988
Sale: $248

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Art, Australia, Indigenous Peoples, Painting

Related Titles:
The Dreamers of Arnhem Land: The two Aboriginal elders who set out to save their community from cultural extinction by combining traditional knowledge and contemporary scientific expertise.

Bush Mechanics: This Aboriginal-produced TV series follows the exploits of the Bush Mechanics. Traveling through the Australian outback, they solve multiple car problems with inventive bush repair techniques to overcome various challenges.

Fang: Mixes documentary and fiction techniques to recount an African art object's 100 year journey - a whole century of Western attitudes towards African culture packed into 8 minutes!

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Last Updated August 17, 2015
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