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Untitled (Jupiter Well to Tjukula) 1979  by Uta Uta Tjangala

As I saw this painting at the end of the tour – I was mesmerised; then I was furious. All the paintings, except for a few, that Michael  had shown us were done by white people! Yes, some of them were influenced by indigenous art but nonetheless by settlers. All we were studying was yet again a foreign art form. But then as I held on to my senses and studied this painting, I realised that this painting is dated 1979 AD – only 12 years after the aboriginal were granted Australian citizenship.

This opened me up to a whole new meaning. This  230.0 x 380.0 cm painting gave out a strong surge of energy. It felt like Assertion. These patterns in the paintings may have a different meaning in the aboriginal culture, but it seemed like the circular patterns represented different aboriginal tribes, all of them similar yet different from each other. All of them have the same core values of being a circle; another interesting feature about the painting is that all of it is formed with dots – which could represent people. The formation of it is more or less the same but all of the circles are connected.

The rest of the patterns seems very intrusive in the painting. All of them are different and from different directions, moving towards different directions. But the circles stand out and they’re fighting these patterns from breaking their link with each other and also from their core. I believe that this painting comes as a statement that they will fight together for what they rightfully deserve. And as long as they’re together, their values won’t be shaken.

This is one thing that I love about paintings – you can always represent it any way you want. This painting comes across as endurance to  me. The aboriginal people have gone through a lot and there is only so much we see today. If I didn’t know any better I could’ve walked through the room and seen this painting, I wouldn’t have noticed that this was only one of the few paintings in the tour, let alone be infuriated about it.


3 thoughts on “Assertion

  1. This is a wonderful entry Prarthana- you have really captured something essential about this painting and I think it is the context of all your reading by and about our Indigenous sisters and brothers that has triggered this understanding for you. Well done: you help us all to see this painting with new eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

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