Homework Assistance
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Posted by: JNuts (59.101.32.---)
Date: April 26, 2009 10:17AM

Is there is any painting that reflects a similar concept/idea to themes conveyed in the poem "Then and Now"?

Here it is:

In my dreams I hear my tribe,
Laughing as they hunt and swim,
But dreams are shattered by rushing car,
By grinding tram and hissing train,
And I see no more my tribe of old
As I walk alone in the teeming town.

I have seen corroboree
Where that factory belches smoke;
Here where they have memorial park
One time lubras dug for yams;
One time our dark children played
There where the railway yards are now,
And where I remember the didgeridoo
Calling to us to dance and play,
Offices now, neon lights now,
Bank and shop and advertisement now,
Traffic and trade of the busy town.

No more woomera, no more boomerang,
No more playabout, no more the old ways.
Children of nature we were then,
No clocks hurrying crowds to toil.
Now I am civilized and work in the white way,
Now I have dress, now I have shoes:
'Isn't she lucky to have a good job!'
Better when I had only a dilly bag.
Better when I had nothing but happiness.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2009 10:22AM by JNuts.

Re: Oodgeroo
Posted by: IanAKB (210.84.63.---)
Date: April 26, 2009 12:34PM

I assume you must live in Australia, and probably in New South Wales (please correct me if I'm wrong), to be given by your teacher such a daft homework assignment as part of poetry study. It seems to be based on the dubious assumption that paintings and poems are comparable forms of expression of abstract concepts and ideas, as distinct from visual images. Trying to find a painting such as you are looking for really has nothing to do with the study of poetry or other literature. Or are you studying applied arts?

It would have to be an Australian painting, but Aboriginal traditional painting doesn't depict images of the kind described in the poem. Its subjects are mostly totemic animals or plants, or journey stories told using traditional symbols, or maps of spiritually significant landscape features.

If there was a painting by any artist, indigenous or non-indigenous, successfully portraying Aboriginal nostalgia for a time before urbanisation, it would surely be famous. I have never heard of such a painting. It might nevertheless be worth your while to phone your national gallery and ask one of the curators.

If it's an obscure painting not yet exhibited, how are you going to be able to communicate it to your teacher?

My mischievous suggestion is that you imagine such a painting. It could for instance show an Aboriginal typist fallen asleep at her desk in in an office in a city building near train and tram tracks in a street with lots of advertisements, and she has a large dream bubble coming out of her head depicting scenes of the contrasting happy activities that she remembers from the old days. Imagine this painting so thoroughly that you can describe it in detail to your teacher. You could give it a title based on a phrase from the poem. But after describing it, say that unfortunately you can't show a reproduction of it to your teacher because it isn't yet finished, or the traditional custodians of it are concerned to keep it secret and you were only able to sneak a peek at it when they weren't looking, or whatever creative excuse you can come up with.

I hope that this solution to your problem won't get you into trouble, and that your teacher will accept it with good humour. However you had better judge the likelihood of that for yourself, beforehand !

Now please tell me, what is the title of the poem you have posted, and who is the author? Is Oodgeroo the title, or is it a poem by the late Aboriginal author Oodgeroo Noonuccal?


Re: Oodgeroo
Posted by: JNuts (59.101.32.---)
Date: April 27, 2009 05:02AM

You are exactly right, I do live in NSW. The poem is titled Then and Now, and is by the late Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal. The full assignment is to write a 500 word response explaining how the representation of the concept in the painting links to the poem. Thankyou for your help.

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