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Art Religion and the Dreaming The Dreamtime or the Dreaming is crucial to the understanding of Aboriginal art Art is a means to the Dreaming a way of making contact with this spiritual dimension and yet in turn it is the product of the Dreaming Howard Morphy opens with these words to his chapter called Foundation Art Religion and the Dreaming in his book Aboriginal Art His words not only carry an extreme amount of truth and legitimacy they also signify something that is sacred to the fascinating community we call the Aborigines Dreamtime Before analyzing the art created by these people background must be introduced to understand more clearly the meanings and influences behind their creations Religion and the Aboriginal concept called Dreamtime are two main influential factors behind the art that is constituted by the Aborigines Dreamtime or wangarr which is the Yolngu word for Dreamtime like most religious concepts is something that cant be translated by a short phrase It involves much much more including exploring Aboriginal ideas about the nature of the world It is a very complex concept and sometimes hard to interpret for people not living within this community The people living within the Yolngu tribe who inhabit the eastern part of Arnham land have their own concept of Dreamtime They feel the word or connotation Dream is quite inappropriate They believe wangarr goes farther than just a dream they believe it is part of their reality Morphy sums up the true reality that Dreamtime represents to the people of the Yolngu tribe in the quote below The Dreaming exists independently of the linear time of everyday life and the temporal sequence of historical events Indeed the Dreaming is as much a dimension of reality as a period of time It gains its sense of time because it was there in the beginning underlies the present and is a determinant of the
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