Australian Aboriginal Painting Workshop is Deeply Spiritual
Australia’s Western Desert style paintings, often called dot-dot paintings, tell stories that are
significant to the culture and the artist’s spiritual journey. Modern shaman Laine Cunningham
offers an intensive workshop in this form. Participants adapt the symbols and methods to their
own stories of growth, transformation and rebirth.
Hillsborough, NC (Vocus) October 27, 2009 -- In recent years, Australian Aboriginal paintings have had an
important impact on the global art market. The bright, saturated colors and hypnotic designs reflect a people’s
culture while resonating with intense spiritual power. Now anyone can learn this technique themselves with Laine
Cunningham’s Dot-Dot Dreaming workshops and seminars.
During the seminar, Cunningham outlines the evolution of the Papunya-Tulu or Western Desert style. In 1970, a
teacher on the Papunya reservation saw that as the Aboriginal elders died, the stories that preserved the Dreaming
laws were lost. Since the lifestyle left little opportunity for elders to pass these stories on to the next generation,
the entire system of values and cultural information was disappearing.
The men still created ground paintings of significant cultural stories. These installations use seeds, leaves and
bird down to draw symbols on the ground. The men began replicating the ground paintings on large sheets of bark
and the Western Desert style was born.
“Although originally embedded in a culture, the art form is so accessible people from any background can create
their own paintings,” Cunningham says.
The swirling patterns of dots represent the seeds and stones that would have been used in the ground painting.
This resulted in the form’s popular name, the dot-dot style. Since the ground paintings were viewed from above,
the Western Desert images are also designed as if seen from above. Traditional symbols for waterholes, spears
and digging sticks are commonly included.
The art form has since become a valu