Aboriginal Animal Art


There is some great Aboriginal animal art in Australia.


Australian Aboriginal People used to, and still like to, create art that represents their everyday life and their surroundings, including landscapes, plants and animals.





Aboriginal Wall Painting by the Tjapukai People
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Aboriginal Dot Paintings

There are roughly two styles in Australian Aboriginal art. Like the art in other parts of the world, and the modern-day art, the art of Australian indigenous people was either in naturalistic or abstract style. The abstract style used to be represented by desert sand paintings, a tradition that now has developed into the modern-day famous Aboriginal dot painitng style.

Aboriginal Painting
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Naturalistic Style

The naturalistic style is not about dots and symbols that you have to interpret, it's about peoples', plants', and animals' figures that are recognisable without you having to understand the symbols of the particular tribe. Traditionally, this was the style that represented the animal art of Australian indigenous people. Nowadays however, some dot paintings also picture animals, typically snakes and lizards.

Painting of a Wallaby at Aboriginal Rock Art Site at Ubirr Rock, Kakadu National Park, Australia
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Canvas Paintings and Rock Art

So today when you are looking for Aboriginal animal art in Australia, you will find it either on a piece of canvas in dot-painting style, or you find it on the numerous examples of Aboriginal rock painting in many places in Australia.

Namarrgon, the Lightning Man, One of Supernatural Ancestors Depicted at Aboriginal Rock Art Site
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X-Ray Style

Even amongst the naturalistic animal art on the ancient rock, there are different styles. Some of them simply picture the animal. Others use the famous X-ray style which is very typical for northern Australia. On the paintings in X-ray style, the animal's internal organs are displayed in detail. There are some very old rock paintings in X-ray style, however that style is much more common in later, 1000-2000 years old artworks. The X-ray style is today continuously produced on canvas, bark and paper.

Aboriginal Rock Art Painting of a White Kangaroo at Karbenadjarlnglawe, Kudjekbinj, Australia
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Where in Australia?
Aboriginal animal art is found all over Australia. Some of the oldest and most famous examples however are found in areas like Kimberleys in Western Australia and Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory. In Kakadu, some animal rock paintings are more than 8,000 years old. Other famous ones are found in Queensland, in Carnarvon National Park and around Laura on Cape York Peninsula.

 






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