Aboriginal paintings are the art or the depiction of nature by the aboriginal people. They are the native groups of Australia, a d hold the oldest living art and community.
This type of art is done on bark, wood, rock, sculpted, and even done on clothing. You will be amazed to know that these aboriginal art practices date back even before the Colonisation.
Undoubtedly, aboriginal people have a strong bond with nature. Since the art represents different landscapes such as coast, valley, and grasslands; they even include animal imagery in the art.
1. Origin of the Aboriginal Art
Initially, the paintings were on bark, rock, sand, and human bodies. The evidence of aboriginal art can be found in rock art, which dates back to 20,000 years ago.
In addition, it was in the year 1971 when a school teacher, Geoffery Bardon brought the art to people. He was from a remote area of the Aboriginal community, Paunya.
The Australian Aboriginal People’s ways of communication were oral and visual. They do not have written language. Therefore, they used to paint maps of the country to remember important landmarks.
Also, they drew aerial views in order to remember where food and water sources were.
2. Australian Aboriginal Art Popularity
The contemporary art movement has helped build a good bond between the Aboriginal culture and the Western culture. Importantly, the ability of the indigenous artist to depict stories made a huge impact on the people. Indeed, their work inspires spiritual beliefs, presenting a universal connection.
The beautiful works reflect traditional iconography. Conversely, the stories hold amazing visuals that bring out the viewer’s emotions. This cooperative became the largest source of income for Aboriginal People.
3. Indigenous Art
Indigenous art uses different symbols to present their rich history. While the painting from the Papunya community had symbols from the western desert, each individual use of symbols was different.
The symbols were reminiscent of rock art and sand painting. Furthermore, these symbols are used to form a narrative that differs from each artist. These patterns are beautifully winded together to form a story.
The culture is preserved through the 3 most common styles of Aboriginal Paintings.
- Bark Painting: The first one is bark paintings, popular among tribes. Since such art is done on a sheet of bark depicting geometrical figures, animals, and mythical ideas.
- X-Ray Art: The second one is X-Ray art, which paints X-rays of plants and animals. Moreover, these give details of internal organs and bones.
- Dot Paintings: The third one is done by creating a pattern by the use of a wooden stick. Above all the paintings represent several levels of interpretation.
4. Future of the Aboriginal Paintings
The paintings of Aboriginal Australia are witnessing simultaneous growth. They are in circulation largely through the help of indigenous media.
The indigenous cultural artist are trying their best to keep up with the powerful culture. However, the progress of the art depends on various factors.
- The production of art should be continuous.
- The new generation of artists needs to take an interest in their traditions.
- The export market should function better.
- Artists should have financial and professional support to work in the markets.
Regardless, the two major sectors affecting the indigenous art in the market are:
a) Government Role
The state government is trying to develop the nation’s art. Moreover, the funding of programs raises concern over the art and promotes it worldwide.
b) The International Market
The international buyer of indigenous art also affects the progress of indigenous art. A good sale brings positive support to indigenous industries. Which is significant for an art to continue.
5. Color Variation in Aboriginal Paintings
The use of colours marks an importance in the choice of framing an Art. The colours used in aboriginal paintings were Ochre Paints. The paints were locally available. The ochre is an iron clay pigment that manufactures colours such as black, red, yellow, and even white.
Above all the use of colour – white represents spiritual level while the red and yellow reflect nature. On the other hand black symbolizes the native aboriginal people. Undoubtedly these colors paint the complex but the original culture of the indigenous community.
6. Aboriginal Art Gallery
You can access aboriginal paintings through aboriginal art galleries and museums that survived safely in such places. The Aboriginal Art Association works closely to ensure ethical codes. In addition to that they maintain fairness between the indigenous artists and organizations.
The Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery holds a broader range of art by indigenous Australian artists with around 4,000 artworks in stock. However, The most popular aboriginal artist Kathleen Petyarre from Australia sells most of the artworks at a good price online. She uses her style of expression to bring out the details of her aboriginal Paintings.
7. The Aboriginal Art of Arnhem Land
Arnhem Land includes the Kakadu Aboriginal Reserve. The place holds strong cultural and traditional practices. Undoubtedly you can witness the Yolngu people to be the largest Aboriginal community. Furtheremore, the land centres on ancient rock art sites.
The art here has a unique style. The land work consists of animals, people, and weapons. Moreover, the graphic bark paintings of these artists were the reason for the printmaking technique. Above all, these techniques are now used to produce more beautiful and excellent aboriginal art.
Aboriginal painting art is a written language that depicts a rich history. Additionally, it holds us to the ancient traditions. The work closely states the existence of indigenous heritage and reminds us of how Aboriginal artists are fighting to recover their lost pride in their cultural art. Now it depends on us to support them back.
Sara Faraz is a student who has recently completed her university degree and is striving for excellence.