World of Dreamings
Traditional and modern art of Australia

An exhibition held at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg | 2 February - 9 April 2000

English | Selected works | Pусский | 0тобранные работы



Partners and sponsors


  • Dr Brian Kennedy, Director, National Gallery of Australia
Chapter 1
  • An introduction to Aboriginal art by Susan Jenkins and Carly Lane
Chapter 2A | B
  • The Aboriginal Memorial We have survived, by Djon Mundine
  • The Aboriginal Memorial 1987-88 A description
Chapter 3
  • John Mawurndjul The resonating land by Luke Taylor
Chapter 4
  • All the world The paintings of Nym Bandak by Kim Barber
Chapter 5
  • 'Who's that bugger who paints like me?' Rover Thomas by Wally Caruana
Chapter 6
  • The enigma of Emily Kngwarray by Jenny Green
Chapter 7
  • High art and religious intensity. A brief history of Wik sculpture by Peter Sutton
Chapter 8
  • Laced flour and tin boxes The art of Fiona Foley by Avril Quaill
Chapter 9
  • The memory theatre of Tracey Moffat by Gael Newton

Artists' biographies



Further reading on Aboriginal art

Authors' biographies




Ancestral beings: Supernatural and creator beings who travelled across the unshaped world in both human and non-human form, shaping the landscape, creating people and laying down laws of social and religious behaviour.

Ancestral Realm: The dimension of existence relating to the supernatural and ancestral beings who created the universe and ordered everything in it, and whose spiritual powers continue to influence and sustain successive generations of Aboriginal people. See 'Dreaming'.

Cattle station: Ranch on which cattle are raised for meat production.

Clan: Group of people who are descended from a common ancestor, and who share rights to land, painted designs and Dreamings. Clan membership is often but not always inherited patrilineally.

Dilly bag: Bag woven from natural fibres and usually used to collect food. Most commonly found in Arnhem Land.

Dreaming: An English word commonly used by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike to describe Aboriginal cosmology and the genesis of the world. The Dreaming encompasses the ancestral narratives about the supernatural and ancestral beings, and their epic deeds of creation. Each narrative is known as a 'Dreaming'. The entire Australian continent is covered in an intricate web of Dreamings or ancestral tracks. See 'Ancestral Realm'.

Koori: A generic term to describe Aboriginal people of the south-east of Australia.

Kriol: In this catalogue, most commentaries by Aboriginal people have been recorded in Kriol (Creole). Kriol is a distinct language with its own grammar and conventions derived from local languages and English.

Land rights: The rights Aboriginal people enjoy to their ancestrally inherited land under Australian law. These rights were not recognised when the first British settlers declared Australia terra nullius, that is, the 'uninhabited land'. Since the 1960s Aboriginal people have worked to have these rights recognised in courts of law. The most significant judgements which allow Aboriginal people to claim these rights today are the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act, 1976, and the Mabo judgement of the High Court of Australia in 1992 which acknowledged Aboriginal people's ownership of the land prior to European settlement.

Language group: Language is one common form of establishing people's identity. At the time of European colonisation, some 200 distinct languages and up to 600 dialects were spoken across the continent. Many of these languages survive today.

Moiety: A basic form of Aboriginal social structure. Most Aboriginal societies are divided into two halves who intermarry. Moiety membership extends to all things in the spiritual and physical world.

Ochres: Red and yellow oxides used to make paint.

Outstation: Camps or settlements established by Aboriginal people on their ancestral lands (such as Mawurndjul's at Mumeka), away from the government townships or missions (such as Maningrida).

Settlers: The first Europeans (the British) and their descendants who, from 1788, settled in Australia.

Stockman: Man who tends cattle, a cowboy.

Sugarbag: Natives bees, their hives and honey.

Totem: Particular animal and other natural species with which individuals identify to mediate their relationships with the ancestral beings, the land and everything in it.

Waterhole: Source of fresh water essential to life in all of Australia's varied environments. In spiritual terms particular waterholes are often regarded as the repositories of the souls of members of a clan or of a social group.