are a lot of different Aboriginal
There is an enormous variety of
art in Australia. Styles vary
geographically and depending on the
age of the art. There is also a wide range of objects on which the art
is found. Here are a few examples and descriptions on different types
of indigenous art found in Australia.
Aboriginal Rock Painting
The oldest and most classic example on Australian Aboriginal art is rock
It has survived thousands of years because rock is so durable. It has
mostly survived in caves where it hasn’t been exposed to the weather.
Most of the different styles, like naturalistic styles, including X-ray
style have been painted on the rocks, but also the abstract dot
paintings. Engravings have also been found on the rocks.
Aboriginal art examples by Jacqui via Flickr.com
Aboriginal Art Examples: Tree Carvings and Bark Paintings
Another popular material to paint on was wood, although the wooden
examples we have today are not nearly as old because tree trunks and
bark don’t last for as long as rock. Tree carvings and bark paintings
popular. Carvings are found everywhere in Australia and bark painting
is possibly the oldest type of indigenous art that became popular with
collectors (in the 1940s). Just like rock art was often painted on rock
shelter walls, bark paintings were often found on walls of wooden
housing. Bark paintings were mostly found in Arnhem Land in Northern
Territory but also in the Riverland in South
Art on Aboriginal Weapons, Tools and Instruments
Another lot of popular objects to decorate were instruments, tools and weapons
such as didgeridoos, boomerangs,
digging sticks, woomeras, spears and
shields, clapping sticks, pottery, utensils, woven bags, textiles
and baskets. The really old examples are by now in
museums, but Australian shops nowadays sell a wide range of different
Aboriginal objects painted by modern artists in traditional style.
The Famous Aboriginal Dot Paintings
The second most typical type of Aboriginal art examples is the famous dot
This is a tradition many people think is relatively new because it only
started in the 1970s. The only thing that is new about it however is
materials used (canvas and acrylic paints). The tradition of abstract
painting using symbols to tell stories is as old as are the rock
The modern dot painting developed from the old desert sand art which
used exactly the same symbols on the sand and had a deep meaning for
people who were familiar with the symbols. It had many different
purposes like ceremonials, religious expression, teaching and
Other Aboriginal Art Examples: Ochre Paintings
Not all the people changed to the colourful acrylic paints. Some of the
people started painting on canvas in the 1980s, but they hold onto
their traditional ochre paints, despite the fact that their collecting
and preparation is a time consuming work, and the results are not
nearly as variable. There is just something about the old traditional
ochre colours that range in yellow, orange, purple, red, brown, black
Aboriginal Body Painting
And finally there was the body
Just like Maoris and other Polynesian people, Aboriginal people had a
tradition of tattoos and piercing. But they also used less
permanent body decoration such as body painting and scaring. Scaring
was used by men, while body painting was done on women and kids too.
Body painting was more than just art – symbols that were used showed
the person’s social status and other information. The body paintings
used on religious
ceremonies had symbols that had messages
to ancestral and creation beings.
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