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Eddie Blitner / Brolga Dreaming (A14260)
92cm x 62cm Acrylic on CanvasView more from artist
92cm x 62cm Acrylic on Canvas
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Ochre / Kimberley artworks are shipped on canvas or linen, already stretched, ready to hang unless stated otherwise.
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Edward (Eddie) Blitner was born in Katherine, Northern Territory, in 1961. His bush name is Taiita. In the early years he lived at Ngukurr Community on the Roper River in the Northern Territory. Later he attended school at Concordia College in Adelaide until the age of sixteen. When he returned to the north as a young man he worked as a stockman and general hand on Victoria River Downs. He was at the Gurrinji walkout when he was a youth, and mixed with all of the language groups who populate the northern country from Roper River to Kununurra.
Eddie commenced painting when he was seven – from a very early age, he used to watch his grandfathers, Fred, Gerry and Donald, and the other Elders who taught him to blend ochre, apply the paint, carve, and passed on to him the stories of the work they were doing. Other members of his clan (Barbil) taught him how to make flint spear heads, traditional hunting boomerangs and most importantly how to hunt, fish, find bush tucker and make bush medicine to survive.
Now a high profile contemporary artist, Eddie frequently works with children and young men, teaching them all his skills. He travels widely and is always willing to impart his knowledge. He has devoted many hours helping underprivileged children to learn what his Elders taught him.
Eddie is from Naiyalrindji country on the Roper River, 270 km south-east of Katherine in the Northern Territory. It is now called the Yugul Mangl Community. Many good painters have emerged from that community and are represented in most major Australian and overseas galleries. His family are renowned artists and carvers. He is a great didgeridoo maker and his fine large bird carvings (some standing two meters high) are breathtaking.
Eddie paints the mimi rock spirit figures of his country, always with an accompanying story/theme and very often incorporating totems, bush tucker, animals in X-Ray style, men’s hunting/fishing and corroboree themes. He is meticulous in method and fastidious in style.
• Australian Aids Magazine “Blue Bell”
• First Prize, Barunga Aboriginal Cultural Festival
• Four Corners interview for world-wide release (1999) – in-depth interview re Aboriginal Art and Artefacts.
• Telstra Aboriginal Art Awards, Darwin, N.T.
• Spirits of the Dreaming, Darling Harbour Cultural Centre. Promoted by the “Today Show”, Sydney
• Love Magic Exhibition, Katherine Art Gallery, held at the Sydney Trust, N.S.W. 2000
In the Dreamtime Ancestral Beings walked throughout Arnhemland teaching law and ceremony to Aborigines, creating sacred sites, and instilling into young men the need for strict discipline both in their private and ceremonial life. A boy was to stay with his mother until the age of 5, when his uncle would take him out into the bush for six months of concentrated instructions, and this pattern would be followed until he had passed through the initial age grading ceremonies. At the age of 18 he would be considered a fit and proper person to marry, if he had a promised wife. Until then his father or his uncle would be teaching him the technique of painting, but it was not until the age of about 25 that he would begin to learn the sacred meanings of the myths which he would now be allowed to paint.
One of these myths, which is told in song and dance cycles in ceremonies, concerns the Ancestral Being who was out walking through the bush one day when he had a premonition that he was being followed. He quickly turned his head and saw two hunters with spears upraised. He ran towards a billabong and changed into Ngalyod the Rainbow Serpent. When the two men peered into the water Ngalyod reared up and bit each one in turn, killing them immediately. Emerging from the waterhole he changed back into his human shape, then to avoid further danger transformed himself into a brolga and flew up into the air. Winging his way through the sky, he saw below him a group of brolgas dancing on the plains. He flew down and joined them, and decided to stay with them until it was time to die.
When that time came he would metamorphose into a rock or some other natural phenomena, in which his spirit would live on forever. Ancestral Beings of the Dreamtime had the power to transform their shape at will, either to avoid danger or when they felt their time had come to die.
In sacred ceremonies men paint their chests with the design of their chief Ancestral Being. Thus many men have the brolga design on their bodies and are known as “brolga men”, descended from “Old Man Brolga”. Others might have fish or another creature painted on their chests, and all pay homage to their First Ancestor.
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