The Body as Language and Expression of the Indigenous Australian Cultural Identity

Dolors Soriano, Victòria Medina

Abstract


In the Indigenous Australian oral culture, Tradition and Law are transmitted orally – through songs, tales, legends, etc. – and by visual expressions – engravings and drawings made on rocks, on the ground, on material objects, on bark and on the human body–. Drawings and engravings transform the surface on which they are made from profane to sacred, since they are the transmitters of cultural myths and beliefs, generation after generation. The body, one of the supports of visual expression, actively participates in the transmission of myths, relegating the design to a secondary place. The most important thing is the transmission of the myth and not the way it is transmitted, or the result. The mythological narrative or legend surpasses the aesthetic line of vision. This paper intends to expose the primacy of the use of the body -- human or not–, as a transmitter of the myths and history of the Indigenous Australian culture. In this way the body speaks a non-oral language full of symbolism and meaning.

Keywords


indigenous australian communities; body painting; oral tradition

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/co2009399-108

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