Rock Art By Aboriginal Artists 45,000 year ago

Gabarnmung

Margaret Katherine, elder of the Jawoyn Tribe

and care keeper of the sacred rock shelter cave

is as black and ancient as ebony stone.

She stands in front of the entrance like a lionsgate.

The cave’s ceiling opens up into a heaven of thousands

of rust-colored drawings of pots, figures, prehistoric fish 

turtles, wallabies, lizards, snakes, crocs.  

Unlike the Sistine Chapel with its overwhelming

naked male flesh and old testament themes of sin

and violence and judgement, the soft carmine and

ochres of the cave reflect daily and familiar comforts.

Unlike the pedantic cubicles of the hieroglyphics

in Egyptian pharaoh tombs with their stilted linearities

the soft chalk bodies of women color the cave’s canopy

in a closer reflection of true creation and afterlife.

A large woman in a headdress or a halo floats

on the concave roof. She could be an angel,

a spirit or more likely one of Margaret’s ancestors.

Margaret Katherine goes to the cave every day

to speak to the spirits who she says, speak back.