Vincent Forrester is a Luritja/Aranda man born in Alice Springs. He lived on a cattle station (Angus Downs) in a traditional environment, where he was influenced by his forefathers. Today, he still practices his responsibilities and rituals and now takes his place as a teacher of traditional law to young men.
Vincent was instrumental in setting up Central Land Council, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Aboriginal Legal Services, Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) and its television station Imparja.
Growing up as a stockman and stationhand, Vincent came to know his country intimately. His grandfather's showed him the landscape and told him the stories, associated with his country and Alice Springs, where he became the Aboriginal historian of the area. His grandmother's showed him bush foods and bush medicine for both Luritja and Aranda country. It was in his teens when working as a cattleman, that the tourism industry was in its infancy and Vincent began working as a tour guide. He later became a very popular guide at Kings Canyon, a ranger at Uluru/Kata Juta National Park and later a specialist guide at Alice Springs Desert Park.
He was also heavily involved in Territory and National politics, as the chairman of the National Aboriginal Conference (the precursor to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission) where he worked as an Indigenous advisor to three Australian Prime Ministers - Gough Whitlam, Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke - was a founding member of the Makarrata treaty committee (under the Fraser Government), the Australian member for the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, worked with UNFSCO in Paris for the return of sacred objects to traditional Australian Indigenous owners.
Like European art, Aboriginal art represents and symbolises the world and the beliefs of people. Traditional Aboriginal art represent the Dreaming but is often also a vital part of ceremonies.
The concept of art in traditional Aboriginal society is very different to the concept of art in European society. In traditional Aboriginal societies, activities like dancing, singing, body decorations, sand drawings, making implements or weaving baskets were not considered to be separate activities called art and design. All of these activities were a part of the Dreaming and a part of normal daily life.
Aboriginal people traditionally used the materials available to them to symbolise the Dreaming and their world. As a result, art forms varied in different areas of Australia. In the central desert, ground drawing was a very important style of art and throughout Australia rock art as well as body painting and decoration were common although varying in styles, method, materials and meaning. There is and was a wide range of traditional Aboriginal art forms.
Communities today throughout Australia such as ours still produce traditional art, which has traditional content and meaning.