Thursday, October 18, 2007
She sat on the floor in one of the main halls of the Cultural Centre—shoulders hunched, working on a painting; her dark blue frock-style dress fanning out around her. The painting was colourful, with swirling dots morphing into circles, telling Tjukurpa tales. A little further away lay four or five boat-shaped bowls containing grains that were very similar to ragi.
As we approached, she took one look at us and delightedly rubbed her skin with her fingers, and then reached over to touch my son, saying something to a park ranger nearby. The ranger translated, “Barbara says ‘aborigine’.” We nodded, adding that we were from India.
In her own way, Barbara was seconding what archaeologists have long postulated: the parallels between the races of Central India, Sri Lanka and the Anangu, as the aborigines of Australia like to be called. Archaeologists estimate that the Anangu have lived in the southern continent for at least 50,000 years, continuously adapting their way of life to the vagaries of plate tectonics (it is believed that, once upon a time, Australia had a land connection to Asia) and the changing landscape.
The rest appears in this weekend's Mint Lounge.