Genesis and Dreamtime: Works by Sheri Park

Apr 7, 2011

The Australian aboriginals created about creation.  Their art is deeply tied to their religion, which centers around their creation story, “Dreamtime” when the gods walked and created the earth.  Their link between art, land, and spirituality struck me, for “paintings, like the landscape itself, are considered to be not merely representations of the ancestral past but also manifestations of the ancestral beings themselves and a means of establishing contact with them”1  I’ve always seen nature and art as a passageway to the divine, and for my Sophomore Scholar’s Project, I decided to be more intentional about this connection.  Like the Australians, I created abstract art based on a defining creation narrative; for me this was Genesis.

In Genesis, identity is defined through relationships and their contrasts.  Creation occurs in pairs – light and dark, water and sky, male and female.  Diversity and unity coexist; Adam and Eve are separate entities yet become one flesh, created together to be the image of God.  Boundaries, edges, and overlap became important in this series.  With each painting, I began with a circle or oval shape.  The circle has many associations.  It is an opening, it is a womb, a sun, a cell, an orbit.  I also (albeit somewhat unintentionally) made reference back to water and the coast.  I am from the Bay Area in northern California, and so home for me is both land and sea.  In painting Genesis, I ended up painting my own story.

Creation narratives –whether they be Dreamtime, Genesis, or evolution — create identity.  Where we come from directs where we will go.  Who we come from and who we connect with, shapes who we will become.

– Sheri Park, class of 2013 Many thanks to my adviser Prof. Orellana, who challenged me and encouraged me to take risks.  I could not have discovered and finished this project without him

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