Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week four and the creative force has produced the Possum to build on the lessons that Australian birds, animals and habitat are initiating.
A dreaming story tells of a confrontation between the Rock Wallaby Men from Port Agusta and the northern Possum Men. The Possum Men were conducting important ceremonies when the Rock Wallabies burst in and a fight broke out. Eventually, the two sides called an end to the fighting and agreed to exchange the important ceremonial knowledge. They established a big corroboree camp and the country surrounding was known as good possum country before the arrival of the white settlers. In fact, Aboriginal law completely protects some of these sites from hunting, even during drought, in order to ensure the survival of their food species. Unfortunately, possums have almost completely disappeared from this region although they are still very important in the dreaming songs and rituals performed today.
Possum has come to remind us that no one can own the stars; that the creative force is responsive when we share and take active steps to protect the source of creativity.
The Djargurd Wurrong possum skin cloak, worn by Gunditjmara Elder Ivan Couzens at the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, is an example of what happens when artistic people work collaboratively, rather than keeping their important ceremonial knowledge to themselves. Elder, Ivan Couzens, and others talk about how the cloak helps Aboriginals understand who they are.
Exploring the photographs of possum skin cloaks that were made to wear at the Commonwealth games, and reading the shared stories may inspire us to find a way to express who we are. There are invaluable templates provided which will help us name aspects of ourselves.
Make sure to freely exchange the process you find works as you do this.
If you happen to be in Warrnambool over the next few weeks there is a possum skin cloak on display in the WAG (Warrnambool Art Gallery) It is made by Liz Cousins, a Gunditjmara aboriginal woman who lives near here. I will try and get into the gallery later this week and take a photo of it. In fact, I may well do that later today. I want to go to library which is nearby anyway.
Wow! I would love to see that! I have my son with me until the 14th of Feb but would love to make it down to see this! Perhaps we could catch up! Meanwhile! I would appreciate it if you manage to get a photo!