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Back in the day, I was living in outback Australia in the small mining village of Coober Pedy. Tried my hand at opal mining without much success. When the beer money got a bit low, I got a job with a bricklayer as his labourer. We were employed to build the new rail station being built at Manguri. This was on the new Tarcoola to Alice Springs line.

One day in the pub, we didn’t work all the time, I got talking with an old man who called himself an artist and painter. I found out later that he was on parole after a lengthy prison sentence for killing his wife with an axe.

The painting above is one he did for me. It’s his version of an Aboriginal myth of how their ancestors had created the moon out of the Earth. I post it here to show that the Maori don’t have all this myth shit on their own.

It’s been hanging on the wall for the last 43 years.

Our camp at Manguri

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Great painting and I would have loved to have had it on my wall for the last 43 years. I like the way the Aussies embrace big bold colours in everything (not just art).
    I will have to think a bit more about a name.

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  2. “The Scream” sold for $120m in 2012

    Now your painting has a history in bloody axes, where deep feelings emerged.
    To support indigenous scientific lore embellished in the only “dreamland”.

    At this stage I will start the bidding for that unnamed painting at $10.00

    In which room of the house was the wall?

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  3. A beautiful painting with an amazing back story – a real treasure. Lucky you. Maybe put a print-out of the back story in a frame next to it or stick a copy on the back? They deserve to be together for future generations.

    Name Suggestions:
    1). Abo-cadabra! (not very PC but couldn’t resist)
    2). The Magical Land of the Moon Makers

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    • The reds are typical of the soils around that area. When I came home to NZ, I bought my belongings home, bedding etc. My mum washed the sheets and was amazed at the amount of red soil that was in the bottom of her washing machine. Probably the first time they had been washed.

      I will post another photo showing our camp at the Manguri building site. You will note the red soils.

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      • Brilliant photograph. Because it enables us to note not just the red of the dusty soil but, amazingly, how every single colour you can see in that photo has been captured perfectly in the painting. Very evocative. Perhaps a copy of that photo could accompany the back story!

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  4. …..” I post it here to show that the Maori don’t have all this myth shit on their own.”……

    True but Maori saved their myths by carving figures with their tongues poking out into bits of dead tree or their faces. Didn’t matter much whether the theme was war, famine, history, genealogy or advice on the best fishing spots.

    It was all depicted as figures with their tongues hanging out carved into a bit of dead tree or their faces & buttocks. As an art form it had its limitations.

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  5. Celestial creation.
    I like the painting the more I look at it.

    Maori had huge environmental resources compared to the harsh and arid conditions of the Aussie outback. Doubt Maori would have survived in those stark outback conditions but the Aborigine are still here.

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  6. “Painting while high on petrol fumes”
    Dunno if the aboriginal folk were the same where you were but if they were like the ones in WA the glue or petrol huffing whilst holding a paintbrush will get the desired result.

    In all seriousness it looks like “hell on earth”, if you didnt have the story on the moon creation etc then i wouldnt have guessed it but with that knowledge of what it depicts i can sortve see it in the painting.

    Youre quite lucky ed, usually the abo folk despise white man even more then the NZ natives do, quite a cool painting to be gifted tho far better then some koru,scribbles or taniwha you would get here.

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