acrylic on canvas
91.00 x 61.00
signed 'Maxie' on reverse
Literature & references: Joelle Gergis, Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia, MUP, 2018, p. 58 - 59:
“Whilst discovering new climate records is always exciting for scientists, of course we appreciate that humans have been in Australia long before Europeans arrived… Whilst meteorologists base their forecasts on instrumental data and synoptic charts, Aboriginal people look for things like the time when wattle blooms and the arrival of black cockatoos. For them, understanding the weather is about reading the landscape. Intricate observations of these climatic cues have been passed down for thousands of generations in the form of stories. Unlike weather measurements, which can be turned into computer-readable material and analysed by climate scientists, oral history is shared by elders with their children as they grow up experienceing their local “country”… In recognition of the vast wealth of information carried by the First Australians, over recent years the Bureau [of Meteorology] has been working closely with a dozen different Indigenous communities across Australia to record seasonal calendars, from the Tiwi Islands in the north to Victoria in the south. It’s the tip of the iceberg but a critically important start. Digitally recording the weather knowledge of the oldest continuous culture on Earth will ensure that these stories will be forever captured for future generations. Who knows what role this information might play in helping people adapt in a shifting climate?”
Note: Tjampitjinpa grew up in Ikuntji (or Hassts Bluff) west of Alice Springs and his bush fire series, begun in the early 1990s, depicts the ancestral fire of Warlpiri country.