Thursday, April 28, 2011

In the beginning was

For the final section of our exploration of Aboriginal Australian religion, we turned today to Aboriginal Christianities. We've already encountered Christianity at several points along the way, notably in David Mowaljarlai, in the paintings of Linda Syddick, and in the film "Sampson and Delilah." Today we began with the lovely interpretation - better, recontextualization, if not indeed appropriation - of Genesis 1 in The Rainbow Spirit in Creation (Liturgical Press, 2000), with a translation by (Job scholar!) Norman Habel and paintings by Jasmine Corowa, daughter of one of the Rainbow Spirit Elders. I projected images of the book on our big screen, and read the Biblical text. Meanwhile, the book passed from one student to another, each reading the artist's explanation of the symbols and colors. (Here are the first, seventh and ninth images - with the explanatory texts at the bottom of this post.) Even though my projections were in black and white (d'oh!) the effect was magical. A new world unfolded before our eyes, strange yet familiar. You try too!

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