Indigenous Australians have been creating Aboriginal art for tens of thousands of years. In the central desert areas of Australia the Aboriginal people have their own ceremonies. In which a series of song and dance cycles tell of the Ancestral Beings who walked the earth. These types of art teaching women’s law and ceremony to isolated groups living throughout the desert. Notably each tribe has its own set of ancestors with different stories, designs and dances. And most of the ceremonies have one theme common to all groups. This is that of food gathering as the most important part of their lives. In addition during the ceremonies they will paint their bodies and breasts in various designs. These designs represents the different types of ceremonies. Artists represent these ceremonies as curved and straight lines or shapes like squares and circles in their paintings.
The abstract figures or iconography they depict tell stories of the dreamtime. These stories have been handed down through generations using songs and dance ceremonies. Each painting A ‘U’ shape represents a person or groups of people sitting down with crossed legs. A larger ‘U’ indicates a windbreak. Concentric circles can represent a campsite, stone, waterhole or fire. The exact imprint of human feet or animal paws depicts tracks of humans, emus, possums, kangaroos etc. In their paintings they depict the implements they use, including digging sticks, grinding stones, nulla nullas and coolamons for carrying.
Many bark artworks are created from the artists locoated in the northern parts of Australia. The bark used is from the stringy bark tree (Eucalyptus tetrodonta). To learn about how bark artwork is made. Please click here to view our bark painting information page.
Aboriginal artwork comes in a vairety of colours, patterns and sizes. Not only is this style of art beautiful and unique. But it also expresses a tradition that goes back tens of thousands of years. Each artwork at AAIA comes with information on the artist. As well as the story behind the artwork.
At AAIA we specialise in Northern Territory art. To find the perfect piece of Aboriginal art, click here to view our gallery.