Art: Evoking The Spirit Ancestors

The ancient, mythic world of the Aborigines comes alive

"The inhabitants of this Country," wrote William Dampier, the English sea dog who in 1688 became the first Englishman to record his impressions of Australia, "are the miserablest people in the World . . . Setting aside their humane shape, they differ but little from Brutes." Early this year, English journalist Auberon Waugh, who seems to have inherited his father Evelyn's racism if not his genius, visited Sydney for the Australian bicentennial. "They had no form of civil society at all, beyond whatever social organization may be observed in a swarm of locusts," he wrote of the Aborigines. Their art "must...

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