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The Dreamtime

Several of the exhibits depict the artists´ Dreamtime stories.

The term Dreamtime, first used in the late nineteenth century, is a translation of the word altyerrenge in the Arrernte languages of the Central Desert. The word applies to events involving ancestors living in a mythic time. The first part of the word - altyerr - means "dream" and enge can be translated as ‚"belonging to" or "time of creation". Social anthropologists have used the term "Dreamtime" in their attempts to translate and grasp this unique and complex religious concept.

Dreamtime stories are origin myths describing the epic deeds of supernatural ancestors. At the beginning of the universe, the ancestors travelled through an unshaped world and with their actions created the plants, animals and humans that exist today. The ancestors also gave humans the Eternal Law that states how life should be lived and also defines Aborigines´connection to the land and their kinship systems. The Dreamtime is thus an Aboriginal religious concept that links the ancestors, the land, the Law and humans.

Bildet kan inneholde: mønster, kunst, tegning, illustrasjon, visuell kunst.
Fallami kurri, Mermaids and the old man, Dreamtime design painted by Philip Merrdi Wilson.

The Dreamtime exists independently of linear time and does not only concern the distant past. The cosmology of the Aborigines is present all around them, here and now! Although the creation of the world happened in the past and Aborigines return to their ancestors when they die, the creative powers of the ancestors are present all around us today. The Dreamtime is therefore a parallel and ever-present dimension that lies beneath the present, and determines the future.

Published Mar. 31, 2020 2:37 PM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2020 8:58 AM