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Galleries of the Outback: The Rock Art of Australian Aborigines


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Poster session on Australian aboriginal rock art, completed for a library science course

Subject headings: Aboriginal Australians; Aboriginal Australians--Folklore; Arts, Aboriginal Australian; Australia--Ayers Rock-Mount Olga National Park (N.T.); Australia--Burrup Peninsula (W.A.); Australia--Kakadu National Park (N.T.); Australia--Kimberley (W.A.); Australia--Murujuga National Park (W.A.); Australia--Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (N.T.); Cave paintings--Australia--Kimberley (W.A.); Petroglyphs--Australia--Dampier (W.A.); Petroglyphs--Australia--Pilbara (W.A.); Rock paintings--Australia--Kakadu National Park (N.T.); Rock paintings--Australia--Kimberley (W.A.); World Heritage areas--Australia; Antiquities, Prehistoric; Archaeology; Art--History; Bibliography; History; Humanities; Library science; Poster presentations

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Galleries of the Outback: The Rock Art of Australian Aborigines

  1. 1. Galleries of the Outback The Rock Art of Australian Aborigines
  2. 2. Acknowledgements The author gratefully acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land and art: of Uluru-Kata Tjuta and of Kakadu and of the Kimberley and of Murujuga
  3. 3. Australian Prehistory Rocks began forming 4.5 billion years ago Indigenous people arrived during period of low sea level, possibly 65,000 years ago Some rock art dates from the Pleistocene period, about 40,000 years ago
  4. 4. Noted Rock Art Sites New South Wales Sydney area . . . southeast Northern Territory Kakadu . . . far north Uluru/Kata-Tjuta . . . Central Queensland Cape York . . . Northeast Western Australia Murujuga . . . west coast Kimberley Ranges . . . northwest
  5. 5. Engraved Art . . . Petroglyphs Exposed rock Subtractive process: Chiseling Pounding Abrading Scratching
  6. 6. Pigmented Art . . . Pictographs Protected rock Additive process: Drawing Painting Prints Stencils Freehand
  7. 7. Art Styles Non-figurative Linear or geometric Includes animal tracks Simple figurative Outline or silhouette Recognizable icons Recognizable species
  8. 8. Art Styles Complex figurative Composition of figures or depiction of action Wandjina style (Kimberley) X-ray style (Kakadu)
  9. 9. Art and Symbolism Aboriginal art represents: • Religion, law, and moral systems • Past, present, and future • Creation period when ancestral beings created the world as it is now • Relationship between people, plants, animals, and land’s physical features
  10. 10. Ancestral Spirits Nabulwinjbulwinj, a dangerous spirit at Nourlangie in Kakadu, eats females after killing them by striking them with a yam.
  11. 11. Rites of Passage The Climbing Men site of Murujuga may depict young men climbing a tree during an initiation ceremony.
  12. 12. Continuing Traditions The past is kept alive through art, dance, song, ritual, and oral traditions.
  13. 13. Reference Issues • Ethnocentric viewpoint of some reference books • Confusing terminology, not clearly defined, e.g. prehistory and contemporary • Interdisciplinary nature of topic, requiring variety of search terms in multiple subject areas and in other disciplinary groups
  14. 14. Print Sources “Aboriginal Australia.” Turner, Jane, ed. The Dictionary of Art. New York: Grove’s Dictionaries. 1996 ed. Berghaus, Gunter, ed. New Perspectives on Prehistoric Art. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 2004. Chippindale, Christopher and Paul S.C. Tacon, eds. The Archaeology of Rock-Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Flood, Josephine. The Riches of Ancient Australia: An Indispensable Guide for Exploring Prehistoric Australia. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1990. Morphy, Howard. Aboriginal Art. London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1998. Morwood, M.J. Visions from the Past: The Archaeology of Australian Aboriginal Art. Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002.
  15. 15. Web Sites Rock Art in the Dampier Archipelago Rock Art in Kakadu National Park Rock Art in the Kimberley Rock Art in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Rock Art Research
  16. 16. About This Presentation This poster session was created for a graduate library class entitled Humanities Resources and Services. The assignment required: • The selection of an interdisciplinary topic • A brief overview of the subject • A discussion of reference issues encountered in print and web sources
  17. 17. Map of Australia, photograph of stenciling courtesy of Dreamstime Photograph of Wandjina licensed for use by Superstock Photograph of sand for background texture courtesy of Morguefile Photograph of author by Nic Green All other photographs by Lea Walker Australian Dreaming template and graphic design by Lea Walker Credits Lea Walker © 1981-2013 All rights reserved