Rich visual parallels between Indigenous artworks and microscopic natural structures hidden in the world around us reveal unexpected and intriguing similarities that can deepen our respect for our country and its stories.
The microscopic images (known as micrographs) were captured on transmission electron microscopes, which create enlarged projections of a thin, sample slice and reveal a flat, top-down image, similar to many of the artworks. Another similarity comes from the natural forms and patterns found at the microscopic, landscape and cosmic scale.
In Indigenous cultures, stories shared and held in paintings record how the land and creatures were created, how they function together and how people relate to them.
Birnoo country (artist Gordon Barney) and white ochre
Witchetty grub dreaming (artist Jennifer Napaljarri Lewis) and moth sperm
Brush-tail possum dreaming (artist Judith Nungarrayi Martin) and ribosomes
Sandhills dreaming (artist Vanessa Nampijinpa Brown) and atoms in quartz
Gathering bush tucker (artist Kerry Madawyn McCarthy) and gum leaf cells
Dry River bed (artist Kurun Warun) and blood flow in a fish eye
Skin (artist Joshua Bonson) and collagen fibrils
Water dreaming (artist Lola Brown) and river red gum and water transport vessel
Detail from Witchetty Grub Dreaming, Jennifer Napaljarri Lewis, Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu. Courtesy of the artist