Tim Fox talks to three Australian Aborigines invited to a UNESCO Forum on rock art
The Aborigines of Australia have always been hunter-gatherers, living in harmony with their surroundings. They believe that through ritual they help sustain the cycles of the natural world and that they are as much a part of nature as the wind, the rain and the soil. Understanding nature's secrets is a lifetime process, completely revealed only to tribal or clan elders.
Art for the Aborigines is the expression of present-day life, that is, a life that has been considered in the present tense since the beginning of time. Theirs is both the oldest and the youngest continuous civilization in the world, the oldest as attested to by the dating process called thermoluminescence; and the youngest because the practices depicted by rock paintings are still a part of Aboriginal culture to this very day.
According to the Aborigines, what is etched in or painted onto stone is the expression of the world's immutable laws, which emerged from the Dream Time, the gelatinous, amorphous time before the …