bark painting depicting a coiled snake

Australian Aboriginal peopleslate 1800s–1968

Spencer Museum of Art

Spencer Museum of Art
Lawrence, United States

For Australian aboriginal people, “dreamtime” or “the dreaming” is objective reality—truth opposed to the subjective reality experienced in daily life. Although the translation is imperfect, the dreaming interweaves art, truth, and the ancestors. Events that occur in the dreaming do not, as one might expect, occur during sleep. Instead, events in the dreaming take place simultaneously in the past, present, and future. This bark painting likely accesses events that are occurring in the dreaming, allowing initiates of different levels to understand and discover messages built into the imagery, seen by all, yet understood by few.

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  • Title: bark painting depicting a coiled snake
  • Creator: Australian Aboriginal peoples
  • Date Created: late 1800s–1968
  • Physical Dimensions: Object Height/Width: 81 x 39.5 cm, Object Height/Width: 31 7/8 x 15 1/2 in
  • Type: paintings
  • Medium: bark, pigment

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