An introduction to Australian Aboriginal Art. Discusses features of Central (desert) and Northern Aboriginal Art, and shows uses of these traditional features in contemporary art (includes short video clip of dot-painting method).
Types of Aboriginal Art
There are two distinct styles of Aboriginal Art:
Central (desert) Art
Traditionally drawn in
the sand and for body
Real objects & figures
Lines & cross-hatching
Painted on bark
Aboriginal artists of today combine traditional painting
techniques with modern themes, images and colours.
Today, many Aboriginal artists incorporate dot painting into
their art work. Also, with the availability of acrylic paints, the
traditional use of ochre to make their paint, which gave the
Aboriginal dot painting and art work their ‘earthy’ colours, has
given way to more contemporary and bright colours, as used
by Bronwyn Bancroft in a lot of her book illustrations.
Traditional Aboriginal dot painting is an Aboriginal art
form that was prominent in the Central Western parts of
Australia. The dot painting style itself, originated from the
Papunya art movement in the 1970’s. Papunya Tula artists
used a process of drawings in the sand to be used in
spiritual ceremonies. In such rituals the soil would be
smoothed over and used like a ‘canvas’ to represent sacred
designs, replicate movements of ancestral beings upon
earth. These Dreaming designs were outlined with dancing
circles and were often surrounded with a mass of dots.
Afterward the imprinted earth would be smoothed over,
painted bodies rubbed away, so as to hide the sacred secrets
which had taken place.