This week, I had the honor of accepting, on behalf of the American people, pieces of modern Aboriginal artwork from the Biripi and Worimi peoples in Taree, New South Wales, Australia. The artwork was presented by Taree radio journalist Craig Huth, who is in the U.S. taking part in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
A group of Biripi artists from the Gangga Marrang Arts and Cultural Centre in Taree, spent several weeks creating the painting, entitled, "The Three Brothers." Gangga Marrang means 'to transform into something beautiful' in Gathang, the indigenous language of the mid-north coast of New South Wales. The goal of the Centre is to strengthen and promote Biripi culture to the world.
The painting combines intricate dot patterns and line-work associated with Biripi culture. The foreground features native Australian animals, the camp ground of the three brothers, and three fig trees, after which the city of Taree is named. The intricate dot pattern and Biripi line patterns represent the Aboriginal spiritual connection to the land and water, with the animals and birds forming part of the inter-connected pattern. The three brothers hang in the clouds over the mountains, watching over their country.
The painting was complimented by Biripi artist Ray Davis-Hurst's hand-carved, traditional boomerangs from the wood of a thousand-year-old Huon pine.
Thank you to the Biripi and Worimi artists for their efforts in connecting our two countries.
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