The History and Emergence of Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal Art - Photo by Arts & Activities

Aboriginal Art is the type of art created by people. It comprises of artworks created in diverse ways such as wood carving, sculpting, rock carving, painting on leaves, sand painting, and ceremonial clothing decoration. Aboriginal art is intimately associated with rituals or religious ceremonies. As a matter of fact, it is a significant part of the oldest continuous cultural tradition of the world, based on the Dreaming and on totems.

Aboriginal Art History

Male and female figures in red ochre – Photo by Don’s Maps

Aboriginal art and culture have been available since 60,000 to 80,000 years.  This was the period the Aborigine’s was first established in Australia.  The first indication or proof of Aboriginal philosophy or culture was obvious in the still perceptible rock art in existence for more than 20,000 years.

During this period, ochres were utilized for painting on the rocks.  On the other hand, the Archaeologists were able to document residue and discoveries as far back as 40,000 to 60,000 years from when the primal campsites were discovered.

At that time, there was no documented language for the Aboriginal People of Australia. As a result, important cultural stories were conveyed from one generation to another with the aid of artworks, symbols and icons. In order to safeguard their culture, they made it a point of duty to pass on information. Aboriginal art is focused mainly on storytelling and used as an instrument to transmit idea and information on the beliefs, events, and land of the Aboriginal people.

Using symbols is another way of documenting tales of cultural significance, coaching endurance and use of the land. However, the explanations of the iconography vary, based on the audience.

My country, Aboriginal Dot Art – photo by Artlandish Aboriginal Art Gallery

It was not until the 1930s that the earliest paintings were carried out, despite the fact that Australian Aboriginals used ochres as body paint, on bark and rocks for many years. These were done in watercolour and not in dot art or ochre. The maiden edition of an exhibition by the most renowned aboriginal watercolour painters took place in 1937. Artists generally used watercolours until the early 1970s.

Woof and Ochre paintings were beginning to be accessible to non-aboriginal admirers and in 1948; an art and craft centre was established. Conventionally, paintings by Aboriginal artists were designed and drawn on ceremonial pieces, rock walls, as body paint and most considerably drawn in dirt or sand alongside stories or songs.  The artwork we see on board and canvas these days started just 50 years ago.

In 1971, a school teacher worked with Aboriginal kids in Papunya, close to Alice Springs. While the Aboriginal men were telling tales about how they would draw symbols in the sand, this school teacher was listening. It was on that note that he encouraged them to paint the tales onto board and canvas.  This started the well-known Aboriginal art movement. It was a major breakthrough and jump for indigenous people to begin painting all their tales onto western veneers, which was a very unfamiliar concept to them.

Aboriginal Dreamtime Art – photo Artlandish Aboriginal Art Gallery

Australian Aboriginal Art has been known as the most exhilarating modern art variety of the 20th Century since that period. Nevertheless, the Aboriginal Artists necessitate authorization to paint certain stories. They inherited the privileges to these stories as they were passed down to them from generations in certain skin assemblages. It then follows that it is not possible for an Aboriginal artist to paint a story that they don’t own in their family.

Creation Law is the centre or core of Aboriginal customs and therefore for Aboriginal art.  It emphasizes the Dreaming which gives the distinctiveness for Aboriginal people and their involvement or connection to the land. Dreamtime is the version of the Creation of time specially designed the Aboriginal People.  A good number of Aboriginal Artists paint surfaces of their Dreaming which outlines the share of their identity and inheritance

The dots were used to conceal the secret iconography or symbols below, as against the belief of a lot of people that dots were used to conceal information. Aboriginal art varies in style and character, depending on the region the artist came from and the language spoken.  Nearly all modern art can be known from the society it was fashioned.

Papunya Tula artwork – photo by ABC

In the mid-1980s, more Aboriginal women artists came on the scene and a wider range of contemporary colours was selected and brilliant desert paintings began to appear on the market. In a lot of communities, a variety of colours continued to be identified for the style. They were popular for their use of soft earth colours even as other Western Desert Communities choose strong primary colours. The styles differ considerably even in districts and there is surely no tough or rigid rule in this situation as can be seen in a lot of Papunya’s artworks that don’t automatically follow these thoughts.

Aboriginal is perhaps the most successful and definitely the longest surviving culture in human history.  It is multifaceted and concentrated on long term endurance in the most hostile environments.  In addition, it has profound knowledge, practical, cultural, and spiritual survival teachings.

On the other hand, Aboriginal Art reveals the most primitive era of this antique culture. It has both anthropological and artistic merit. This is one of the reasons it is very unique and significant.