Saturday, May 29, 2010
This site in Australia was used by aboriginal artists starting 12,000-15,000 years ago. Among its thousands of items are depictions of the thylacine, now believed extinct, and a sailing ship painted in the 1600s, well before historians previously thought the Aborigines of this region knew about white visitors. Use of the site continued until the 1950s: it's startling to see a very accurate drawing of a cruise ship in among the images. This was, essentially, a visual library, one maintained by hundreds of generations of artists over millennia. It's simply astonishing, both as art and as a record of a people.