The spiritual, historical and present coexist in the land and in the mind of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Country is full of meaning and life, and artists such as Bob Burruwal, Gunybi Ganabarr, Danie Mellor, Daniel Walbidi and Lena Yarinkura bring this to light through their work. The art is stylistically distinct because it reflects the diverse nations, ancestral narratives and historical events that exist across the continent.
Many layers of information are associated with Dreaming narratives. The spiritual ancestors created the landscape and established the laws and cultural parameters. Burruwal, Ganambarr, Walbidi and Yarinkura vividly portray the significant life-giving force of both fresh and salt water. They also allude to the ancestral spirits that reside within and around these places. These are powerfully charged sites of renewal and they are depicted here in distinct artistic styles.
Mellor references historical and romanticised narratives of Country and of Indigenous and non-Indigenous interactions. His works are equally detailed and packaged with multiple readings. The colonial and the Indigenous are blatantly juxtaposed within the frame of each work and forced into a dialogue. This has become a recognisable trait of Mellor’s work.