Sydney is “one of the largest outdoor rock art galleries in the world”.
So says Aboriginal heritage manager David Watts, in http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/population-weighs-heavily-on-ancient-aboriginal-rock-art-20130621-2oo80.html#ixzz2Ww0n8GrG. The challenge is how to care for the art. If left unmarked they can degrade or even be destroyed – accidentally or through environmental factors. Call attention to them and they may be vandalised.
Last week mum and I went to a talk last week by a woman from the Aboriginal Heritage Office (http://www.aboriginalheritage.org/). In one sense it was information I’d heard before. I have a certain familiarity with aboriginal rock art in Sydney – mum has always had an interest, and she took us to out-of-the-way places when we were young and showed us art to marvel at, a heritage to admire. The photo shows me, my brothers and my grandma visiting from the UK, with a carving on the rock in front of us. And no, it’s not an acceptable thing in today’s world to walk or sit on the rock. Our ignorance and enthusiasm at the time.
On the other hand the talk was new because it was personal to the speaker – it was her family, she was sorry not to know more about her ancestors and the meaning of art which is her heritage. She wasn’t particularly blaming us – just telling us the situation and wanting us to understand some of our history, the impact and current challenges.
In August I have a trip and a class which may start breaking down my ignorance. Apart from saying “sorry” I haven’t known how to act. This is really a “keep myself honest” post. I need to learn more.