8 Little Known Facts about Australian Aboriginal Art

Australian Aboriginal Art

The earliest form of artistic expression in the world is Aboriginal art. Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory, has art caves dating back at least 60,000 years. Artists can create carvings, ground designs, and paintings out of soil and rocks. We go over all you need to know about Australian Aboriginal Art in this article.

Aboriginal art can only be created by an Aboriginal artist.

It may seem self-evident, but Aboriginal art is only called Aboriginal if it was created by someone of indigenous heritage. A non-Indigenous Australian has no authority to paint an Aboriginal work of art. The artist’s background will influence the appearance of the work, intertwining a part of their own story within each piece.  Rich symbolism and specific ancestral meaning are often depicted within Aboriginal art. The tribe you are from and the ceremonies you practise will all affect the creation process, therefore while others may imitate the work or style, it is without true meaning if it is not created by an Aboriginal artist.  

Dots were once used to obscure the meanings of words by white Australians.

Dot painting dates back to the time of colonisation when Indigenous tribes were afraid white settlers would be able to understand and read messages within the Aboriginal signs and artwork. Double-dotting concealed any meaning, but Aboriginals could still read it. It is now one of the most well-known stylings, especially among the Pintupi tribe of Western Australia.

Aboriginal art is not made up of small dots.

Indigenous Australian Artwork requires specific training and knowledge to be executed properly. Before creating a piece of Aboriginal art, there is a wealth of information that must be learned. Most Australians and visitors may believe it consists only of dots and fine lines. This simply isn’t true! The dot technique is only authorised to be used by artists from particular tribes. What technique can be employed depends on where the artist hails from and what culture has influenced his or her tribe. Painting on behalf of another culture is regarded as both insulting and inappropriate. It’s simply not allowed. The Kulin Nation, for example, which is made up of five different tribes, may not be allowed to utilise the dotting technique because it is not part of their culture, but they can employ cross-hatching instead.

Every artist has a unique narrative to tell.

Every piece of Aboriginal art tells a story. The majority of work is centred on the artist’s own story, which may include topics such as their parents, adoption, warriors, or everyday tasks such as fishing. Sometimes the art is representative of their culture or portrays the plight of the stolen generation.

Permission is required for artists to paint a certain story.

Aboriginal painters are unable to portray a story that is not related to their ancestors. Before they can proceed with a story involving historical or sacred facts, they must first receive authorisation. It’s critical that each artist stays true to their tribe’s stories and artistic techniques.

There is no written language used by Aboriginal people.

Some of the artwork uses terms and phrases from the English language because Aboriginals do not have a formal written language. As it is a visual story, the artwork is incredibly important to Aboriginal culture. Pictures take the place of words when words aren’t available. Aboriginal languages do not exist in their spoken form as they previously did. Because each tribe speaks a distinctive dialect, each artist tells a distinctive story. Because there are around 500 different Aboriginal languages, no two Aboriginal artworks are ever identical, therefore the wide range of styles is unsurprising. It is a reflection of the artist’s personality.

Symbols play an important role in Aboriginal art.

Each piece of our Aboriginal Art For Sale has a type of visual narrative, each tribe has its own set of symbols. There are other iconic symbols, such as eagle feet, waterholes, and digging implements, that are meaningful to numerous tribes. Colours can also be related to meaning, though this is uncommon, and only a few tribes are aware of which colours correspond to particular meanings. The most popular colours chosen are blue (to depict the ocean) and warm brown and orange (to depict the earth). The symbols can also be utilised for education, with both youngsters and adults in mind. Each piece of iconography will have a different meaning depending on the audience, but the story’s core will remain the same.

Varied audiences have different interpretations of Aboriginal art.

Aboriginal language, like art, has several layers, each of which speaks to a distinct audience. The first and most basic layer addresses the general public or children; the second level addresses the general audience, primarily adults; and the third and deepest level addresses a spiritual or ceremonial level. To convey the visual story in its most comprehensive form, an Aboriginal artist must understand all three levels.

See some of our authentic  Australian Aboriginal Art for sale on our website CISAU.

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