The Story of Mother Earth.
The style of artwork used in retelling of this story comes from our mountain, Gunda Booka, on the road between Bourke and Cobar, NSW. Our people have been using this style of artwork on cave walls since the beginning of time. The hand stencils are signatures we leave on the cave walls to let others know that we’ve travelled through on our way to ceremonies.
The colours, too, have their own significance. The red ochre is used by men who’ve attended ceremonies. For my people, the red ochre represents the blood of God, Mooka. Women who’ve attended ceremonies also wear ochre. They wear yellow, the colour of the sun. White is worn by all. It centres all the good energy.
For my people, the Ngiyampaa Tribe, the ochre represents the flesh of Mother Earth. By painting our bodies with her colours, we are paying our respect to Mother Earth at our ceremonies.
The figures are men dancing and represent personal stories painted by individuals. The pointers are directions to where men and women gather or hold ceremonies. The maze with fish are traps used by Paawaankuy People who live on the river. The figures and hand stencils represent how we lived in the beginning, before the Europeans came and dislodged our people from our ancestral land and country.
The white lines on the mannequin’s head and legs represent the contours of our land. The drips are Mother Earth’s pain and tears at the destruction of her flesh. The various colours are the minerals mined from her body: gold, silver, copper, sapphire, and diamonds. We keep taking from our Mother but never give back.
Before the Europeans came to our lands, even as we took from Mother Earth, we gave back by thanking her for what she’s given to us in our ceremonies. This right was taken away from our people with the white European settlement. We continue to share our knowledge of the land with all who share it. We carry on telling our ways to look after Mother Earth, even as we don’t always find a willing ear. Meanwhile Mother Earth continues to grieve for what’s done to her.
And until we stand together and share our knowledge, to sing for her, cry for her, and dance together for her, she’ll continue to grieve and shed her tears.
Uncle Pete’s mannequin is currently featured in our retail store. For price and more information contact our sales team.