We represent walking for all Queenslanders

Dreamtime connections with Ben Barker

Walking is something our people have been doing for many thousands of years. Walkabout is the word we use to describe taking time out and going for a walk and connecting with land and country. And we still do that today.

When you walkabout, you just get on the street and connect your feet to the ground. Even if you’ve got shoes on, it doesn’t really matter. You know a little bit of rubber isn’t going to stop your spirit from connecting with the earth. The spirit runs through your system and connects to your dreaming, it’s such an emerging process and you get to spend time with your own thoughts and connect with the environment.

And if you want to be fit and healthy, walking is all you need to do really. That will get you on top of the world with your heart and with your mind and your body.

My art is another dreaming connection for me, just like my music. When I approach a piece of art, I like connecting to my spirit and my feelings and my emotions and quite often an experience that is relative to what I want to paint.

And then I start to feel what that feels like. And then I stroke the canvas and start to interpret that in my dreaming onto the artwork. And that’s why I call it streaming artwork, because it comes from my my connection and my dream form just like everybody has one. And the dreaming is a process of creation that happens at all times.

The artwork here is called River Dreaming and it’s about the connection of our own spirit to the river and the dreaming and the Dreamtime serpent. The centre represents that sacred ground where we all come from, the spirit connection. The blue is the water of the river where consciousness expands from that we know of, and all the particle nature of the dots and the connection to our spirit and the wavelike energy of this of the Dreamtime serpent. When it moves in those waves and those ripples in the ocean and in the water, it’s a clear connection to the dream form.

It’s been happening since the beginning of time and it will happen at the end of time because there is no time in the dreaming. So I’ll get into that energy and I’ll start to strum and and hum on the guitar and just start to feel that dream and come out. And some words will come to my mind and it’ll really just flow like quite, quite easily, especially when I’m connecting in that and that deep emotional spiritual level. It’s really quite euphoric.


Ben Barker

Ben Barker is a contemporary Woorimi artist who believes art is the glue that bonds culture to the physical world. He describes his artwork as contemporary dreaming art, inviting viewers to experience their own dreaming and evoking a natural awakening. His River Dreaming painting hangs in Eagle Lane, Brisbane as part of the Indigenous Art Program.