Ethnic bonding

By Madhusree Chatterjee | Friday, April 10, 2009 | 3:32:56 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Indigenous Australian artists Otto Jungarrayi Sims and Ormay Nangala Gallagher share something with the tribal artists of India. Both husband and wife love to paint their traditions, life and their legends of origin in bright colours.

Indigenous Australian artists Otto Jungarrayi Sims and Ormay Nangala Gallagher share something with the tribal artists of India. Both husband and wife love to paint their traditions, life and their legends of origin in bright colours.

'My paintings are all about water dreaming - my family insignia or the symbol which is the story of the emu in search of water in the desert. My father's place of water dreaming - the origin - is west of Alice Springs at a place called Mikanji in the rugged northern territory of Australia,' Gallagher told IANS.

Her works are on display along with 87 other ethnic artists in the biggest ever exhibition of tribal Walpiri art from Australia at the Open Palm Court Gallery at the India Habitat Centre.

Gallagher took to painting at 15 as both her parents were artists. Her husband's family symbol is 'Milky Way Dreaming' - one that relates to the universe.

'We are the sons of the milky way,' Sims said. 'Every family has a different dreaming - or jukurrpa, the stories of their origin. Some have snake vine dreaming, some men dreaming, others fire and star dreamings.'

Of the 800 tribals residing in the Yuendumu area near Alice Springs - Sims and Gallagher's home - 400 are artists.

The duo's art works - mostly complex and colourful shapes made of small dots - are vibrant and eye-catching. 'Walpiri art is all about dots. It represents everything,' said Sims.

'The Australian trade commission is trying to market aboriginal art in India and this exhibition is an effort to familiarise Indian buyers with Walpiri art. Aboriginal Australian art is sold all over the world,' said Michael Carter, Australian trade commissioner to India.

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