Something about the art of the Aborigines


Art was always important in Aboriginals and you will soon recognize that when you are visiting Australia.
There are various directions of aboriginal art, some of them are several thousand years old. The original works are rock arts, body painting and ground design dating back to 30.000 years ago. In addition the aborigines do dot and bark paintings as well as silk painting or wooden crafts for rituals, cultural ceremonies or music.
Most of the used depictions base on the so-called ancestor's dreamings which date back to the making of the world - the 'creation'. The most important supernatural beings are the rainbow snake, the lightning man and wandjina - beings with fertility coming from the sky and the sea.
Because of the various tribes it is difficult to inpretate the 'creation dreamings' with all its tellings, so that the meanings of the depictions are depending strongly on the area where the crafts were created.


dot paintings

Dot painting had its renaissance in the 70'ies and is today the most popular aboriginal art form. While the paintings were a kind of maps in former times representing specialties of landscape and vegetation they were later used for picturing dreaming journeys. Mainly paths or flights of animals or humans are depicted which are often representing ancestors. Objects are painted like they leave prints in the sand. I.e. an arc represents a person, an oval depicts a wooden carrying dish called 'coolamon', a single line depicts a digging stick and a circle is a fireplace. Men and women are depicted by the tools they use. Men by spears or boomerangs, women by digging sticks or coolamons. Concentric circles are dreaming places or locations where ancestors had a rest during their journey. Although these symbols are very common their real meaning is normally only known by the artist. Used colours represent the colours you will find in the outback, i.e. red, blue and purpur shades.

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Liviu Rebreanu Liviu Rebreanu
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