Aboriginal Art, Sacred Land and Becoming Visible

More on the topic of Aboriginal art through the eyes of Fred Myers:

In Painting Culture, Myer quotes Nancy Munn who describes the Aboriginal relationship to their country as

an objectification of ancestral subjectivity. Places where significant events took place, where power was left behind, or where the ancestors went into the ground and still remain–places where ancestral potency is near–are sacred sites.

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Myers goes on to say:

The country is not the only objectification of such processes. Other parts of Pintupi life are likewise thought to derive from the Dreaming. Pintupi understand that the Dreamings left behind at various places the creative potency or spiritual essence of all the natural species and of human beings. Thus an individual is said to “have become visible” (yurtirringu)–in reference either to “conception” [quickening in the womb] or to actual birth. The place from which one’s spirit comes determines one’s Dreaming; he or she is an incarnation of the ancestor who made the place. This understanding of personhood makes place a primary component of an individual’s identity…people are determined to have come from a particular country, literally to share its essence, for this “consubstantiality” is the primary basis for owning a sacred site. It is one’s property in an inalienable sense.

Makes complete sense to me.

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