Essential Facts on Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal Art

Native Australian art has been around for a long time and is considered a major creative movement. Art and carvings are reported to date back at least 60,000 years ago! It has a long tradition of artists using dirt and pebbles to make sculptures, paintings, and patterns on the ground. 

Before you head to Aboriginal paintings, it’s essential to know more about the history and facts about this style of art to enjoy it better. And now, here are some fascinating insights into Aboriginal Art.

There Is More to It Than Meets the Eye 

There was a mixture of realism and abstraction in the portrayals of Aborigines. The term “naturalistic” describes representations of natural elements, including landscapes and animals. Thus, we see many representations of human beings, plants, animals, and the natural world. In contrast, “abstract” describes representations that appear unrealistic at first look but have deeper symbolic meanings. As a result, we also have a vast collection of drawings, including mathematical patterns and symbols, which we, as the “other,” may not comprehend, but which the Aborigines undoubtedly would. 

Natural Dyes and Stabilisers Are Used

Ochre, a natural mineral, was employed as the primary hue in their paintings; it was created by grinding the mineral with a tiny quantity of water and a stabilising agent on a stone slab. Because of the variety of ochre pigments available, the artists frequently used the primary colours red, yellow, and white in Aboriginal paintings. The artists could use charcoal to produce black, but the laborious process of creating pigments with it meant it was rarely employed. Some artworks use an olive hue achieved by combining black and yellow. Intriguingly, the ancient Aborigines discovered that the juice from an orchid plant could be used as a fixative to prevent the paint from flaking or peeling. Today’s Aboriginal painters are no different from any other in using synthetic hues. 

It’s About So Much More Than Just the Art 

‘Art for art’s sake ‘was not a principle upheld by the indigenous Australians. Instead, Aborigines used art as a kind of written communication. Numerous details on their daily routines, holidays, festivals, hobbies, religious practices, social organisation, hunting methods, and so on are described. The Aboriginals employed art as a means of communication and representation and as a cover for concealing information. The indigenous Australians, fearing for the safety of their secret knowledge and spiritual practices after European colonisation, developed a mechanism to keep it hidden. This anxiety inspired the now-famous dot paintings of Aboriginal artists. People think the dots were placed on religious symbols to hide hidden meanings. 

The Aboriginal Art Movement 

Forty years ago, in 1971, a school teacher named Geoffrey Bardon saw a group of Aboriginal men reciting stories and drawing symbols in the sand, which led to the development of modern techniques for reproducing Aboriginal art forms on canvas and paper. This piqued his attention, so he suggested the guys try their hands at painting and writing, two mediums they had never tried before. Thus began the now-famous “Aboriginal Art Movement,” which gave rise to several Aboriginal painting artists’ international recognition and success. Non-Aboriginal artists have also begun to exhibit an interest in and practice this art style. It should be no surprise that 20th-century Aboriginal art is often regarded as the most awe-inspiring contemporary art.

Wrapping It Up 

Since there is so much to learn about Aboriginal painting, it is better to begin with, their history and delve into their works. This will help you appreciate their artwork better and increase awareness about the local indigenous population. Hopefully, you have learned great facts about Aboriginal art and its history.


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