Topics: Indigenous Australians, Pigment / Pages: 14 (3413 words) / Published: Apr 5th, 2013
Ochres essay
Choreographed by Stephen Page and Bernadette Walong for Bangarra Dance Theatre, Ochres is a work in four parts. It premiered in Sydney in 1995 and then toured extensively. It explores the mystical significance of ochre, and is inspired by its spiritual and medicinal power. After a prologue the work's four parts are: Yellow, Black, Red and White.

Yellow: I believe the landscape to be Mother. Its flowing rivers she cleanses in, the yellow ochre she dresses in, the sun and seasons she nourishes gathering, nesting and birthing along her travels.
Black: An ash storm has blown over, the call and pain of initiation can only be viewed from a distance ... Men's Business.
Red: Custom, Law and Values placed on the relationships between women and men who have been on a path of change since time began. In each of these relationships: the youth, the obsession, the poison, the pain, there is struggle.
White: At dawn Mother Earth yawns, her call engulfs the white ochre spirits to spiritually bathe them in preparation for the day's journey.
Dancers who performed in early productions of Ochres include Albert David, Gary Lang, Marilyn Miller, Djakapurra Munyarryun, Russell Page, Kirk Page, Jan Pinkerton, Frances Rings, Gina Rings and Bernadette Walong. Music was composed by David Page, lighting was by Jo Mercurio, and costume design was by Jennifer Irwin. Aboriginal people throughout Australia have always used ochre for ceremonial body painting, traditional rituals & as a paint for artefacts & message diagrams associated with their nomadic lifestyle.

The first Australian Aboriginal art collected by European people was in the form of ochre on eucalyptus bark, long before the use of canvas & linen & acrylic paints. The artists of the Kimberley region of Western Australia have carried on the tradition, using natural ochres/earth pigments for artworks now represented in modern homes &

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