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Watch Video of Alyawarr Aboriginal Women Performing Ceremony

by Dale Jennings March 03, 2016

Here is a video I took some years ago of some of the Alyawarr Aboriginal women from Utopia performing a women's ceremony. I'm sharing it because it provides a little insight into the contemporary dress and dance of these ceremonies, and there is little footage available of Utopia people performing. It was for the opening of the Desert People's Centre at the Desert Knowledge Precinct in Alice Springs in 2010.

The women have painted their bodies with acrylic paints in red ochre and white which is significant to their country on Alyawarr lands - first smearing their torso's with oil to help make removing the paint easier afterwards. The dancing material they are using is made simply from a roll of bandages. For some ceremonies, for example a demonstrative ceremony like this, it is not about what the materials are made from but the principle and intent to which it is used. Similarly, it is much easier to use readily available acrylics than it is to source, crush and bind natural ochres to apply to the body. For extremely important and spiritual ceremonies traditional materials are still often used at Utopia.  

 

Dale Jennings
Dale Jennings


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