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non-fiction

The book cover of Piercing the Ground

Piercing the Ground

Balgo Women’s Image Making and Relationship to Country

Christine Watson
ISBN:1 92073 130 X
RRP: $39.95

The power of Aboriginal art is that it expresses the possibility of human intimacy with landscapes ...

— an extract from Piercing the Ground

In Piercing the Ground, Christine Watson, has wrought a comprehensive account of Balgo women’s art, from the public sand drawings which literally pierce the ground to vibrant canvas paintings presenting the actions of Ancestral beings. In the book she shows how the women’s public sand drawing relates to their roles as hunter-gatherers, and how the women contribute to the symbolic language of Balgo iconography. At the heart of the women’s cosmology, the making of the marks in the earth or on a canvas replicates the action of the ancestors in marking the earth and rocks, and externalising themselves on that surface. The conception of senior women artists as they paint their canvases is that they are piercing the material of the canvas so that the designs vibrate with the presence of the Ancestors. These canvasses communicate an impression of the power and presence of the Ancestors to viewers of the art.

Please visit the Balgo website.



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