10 Interesting Facts about Aboriginal Art

These following facts about Aboriginal art should probably give you much information about what kind of art the Aboriginal is. Aboriginal art is art made by the Indigenous people of Australia and in collaborations between Indigenous Australians and others. It includes works in a wide range of media including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpture, ceremonial clothing and sand painting. Furthermore, to get to know more about the art, here are some other facts about Aboriginal art you might be interested in.

Facts about Aboriginal art 1: Ancient Story

Aboriginal art is based on important ancient stories: even contemporary Aboriginal art, is based on stories (Jukurrpa) and symbols centred on ‘the Dreamtime’ – the period in which Indigenous people believe the world was created. The Dreamtime stories are up to and possibly even exceeding 50,000 years old, and have been handed down through the generations virtually unchanged for all those years.

Facts about Aboriginal art 2: Rock Painting

The oldest firmly dated rock art painting in Australia is a charcoal drawing on a rock fragment found during the excavation of the Narwala Gabarnmang rock shelter in south western Arnhem Land in the Norhtern Territory. Dated at 28,000 years, it is one of the oldest known pieces of rock art on Earth with a confirmed date.

Facts about Aboriginal art - Baramundi rock art
Facts about Aboriginal art – Baramundi rock art

Facts about Aboriginal art 3: Unwritten Encyclopedia

Aboriginal art is a major part of the unwritten ‘encyclopedia’ of being an Aboriginal person and as such it may have many layers of meaning. Australian Aboriginal people have no written language of their own, and so the important stories central to the people’s culture are based on the traditional icons (symbols) and information in the artwork, which go hand in hand with recounted stories, dance or song, helping to pass on vital information and preserve their culture.

Facts about Aboriginal art 4: Dot Painting

Dot painting consists of various paint colors like yellow (the sun), brown (the soil), red (desert sand) and white (the clouds and the sky). These are traditional Aboriginal colors. Dot paintings can be painted on anything though in aboriginal times they used to paint dot pictures on rocks, caves etc.

Facts about Aboriginal art - Bradshaw painting
Facts about Aboriginal art – Bradshaw painting

Facts about Aboriginal art 5: Relations with Children

The stories behind many of the artworks when related to children have a strong educational and behavioural aspect – a bit like a combination of western encyclopedias and Aesops Fables where there can be information and/or a moral to the story where good or bad behaviour and consequences are highlighted.

Facts about Aboriginal art 6: Aerial Landscape Art

Australian aboriginal culture also produced a genre of aerial landscape art, often titled simply “country”. It is a kind of maplike, bird’s-eye-view of the desert landscape, and it is often meant to tell a traditional Dreaming story. In the distant past, the common media for such artwork were rock, sand or body painting; but the tradition continues today in the form of colored drawings with liquid based color on canvas.

Facts about Aboriginal art - Painting of Namatjira
Facts about Aboriginal art – Painting of Namatjira

Facts about Aboriginal art 7: Symbols

Certain symbols within the Aboriginal modern art movement retain the same meaning across regions, although the meaning of the same symbols may change within the context of the whole painting. When viewed in monochrome other symbols can look similar, such as the circles within circles, sometimes depicted on their own, sparsely or in clustered groups.

Facts about Aboriginal art 8: Painting on Bark

Painting on Bark is the oldest form of Aboriginal art but many bark paintings have perished over time. Not only is the bark prone to decay and disintegration, but the ochre paints too need a stable substrade (base on which to paint) to lengthen their own relatively short life.

Facts about Aboriginal art - Rainbow serpent
Facts about Aboriginal art – Rainbow serpent

Facts about Aboriginal art 9: Modern Aboriginal Art

In 1934 Australian painter Rex Batterbee taught Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira western style watercolour landscape painting, along with other Aboriginal artists at the Hermannsburg mission in the Northern Territory. It became a popular style, known as the Hermannsburg School, and sold out when the paintings were exhibited in Melbourne, Adelaide and other Australian cities.

Facts about Aboriginal art 10: Permission

Where ancient and important stories are concerned, and particularly those containing secret or sacred information, an artist must have permission to paint the story she or he paints. Traditional Aboriginal artists cannot paint a story that does not belong to them through family lineage.

Facts about Aboriginal art - Rock art
Facts about Aboriginal art – Rock art

Hope you would find those Aboriginal art facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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