Week 2 Summer/Autumn Semester

Another fabulous week of literature and life! I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring Kim Scott’s That Dead Man Dance with Oz Lit students today. This is an amazing work that really brings to life an indigenous experience of life in relation to landscape and everything in it. It does this so powerfully through the sharp contrast that is created between the indigenous wholistic, sacred appreciation of the magic and mystery inherent in all things and the utterly material, unfeeling, acquisitive stance of the British invaders.

Chaine reckoned on melting down a lot of blubber. His grin became a grimace. He told his men how it would be…..

Bobby saw the whale spouts sunlit on the grey sea, showing like blossoms… Diving into the ocean today, Bobby heard the whales singing. They sang for him. “Another Whale Season”.

The book is such a strong celebration of a way of being with our country that is wholesome,  affirming, life-giving in its creation of the sense of wonder and miracle that indigenous people seem to have as part of their make-up.

The miraculousness of their appreciation is captured in this wonderful indigenous painting filled with rhythmic swirls, colour contrasts and the shimmering light both within and on the surface of the ocean. The fish create patterns of movement all around the two large whales (male and female?) who plow through this highly textured water. Paint, like language creates texture, substance that gives a strong sense of the artist’s appreciation of what he is imagining. Here it is the currents of life pulsing through this multi-coloured ocean: Hallelujah.


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