Santos Conservation Centre Exhibition
We are animals too!
The Adelaide Zoo is a wonderful place, it is full of wonder, amazement, it is a place for children to learn and explore and to appreciate other animals, and for many of us we have not outgrown that child, our inner child loves the Zoo with its variety of wonderful animals something we all love to see. The Zoo does important work in preserving endangered species through specific breeding programmes as well as teaching us to love and respect other animals and to look after our natural environment. The role the Zoo is a reflection of Aboriginal Culture and love of “country”. We are taught as children to look after all the animals, plants, waters and landscape within our “country” and to do the same elsewhere. Perhaps this is because of our unique tie to the land or because we do not consider ourselves to be superior to Mother Nature or her creatures. Nor do we think we own the land and all that is on it but rather we are a part of it as it is of us, we are merely the caretakers. Or maybe it is because our creator ancestors who created us, all the animals and plants and the earth/ landscapes on which we live often took animal form thus demanding our respect. Many of our children’s stories which explain the universe, how things were made and why and teach us morals for living in society use animals as their main characters, usually creator spirits in animal form to teach us a lesson. I have used Australian animals in all of my paintings to connect the underlying theme of Aboriginal “Dreaming” stories using animals to the location of the exhibition-the Zoo.
Nikki Carabetta was born in Western Australia, moving to the Northern Territory when she was ten years old. She has since lived in rural and urban Aboriginal communities. Born Yamaji, growing up Brinkin/ Ngangikurrunggurr, Nikki’s artwork reflects this, as well as her urban lifestyle including what she has learnt from the elders at Kulaluk. Nikki’s art is original dot art, in which she has used traditional styles with contemporary techniques and mediums. This is a reflection of how her culture has evolved and adapted itself to her modern urban lifestyle, far removed from the way she grew up. It is the combination of the two that makes her work unique. Whilst there are Dreaming Stories involving the symbols she uses she has not employed all of them in her artwork. Nikki’s artwork reflects her love and respect for “country” and is an affirmation of her connection to culture and country.