What is Australian art?
You may think from the image above that Australian art consists only of the very well known iconic dot paintings by aboriginals. But what are they?
Contemporary Australian Art
A huge amount of contemporary Australian art by Aboriginals is based upon ancient stories plus the symbols are describing what is known in Aboriginal culture as The Dreamtime. This was the period in history where the Indigenous peoples of Australian believe the world was made. These Dreamtime stories could quite possibly be more than 50,000 years old.
The Aboriginal people have no written language. So the important stories that the people’s culture are based upon are traditional symbols. The stories that are told go are very descriptive and are often interpreted as dance and song. This assists in passing on and preserving the culture.
Paintings can and are used for teaching. Paintings are really a visual story. These story paintings are used by Aboriginal people for different reasons, and the story can be interpreted according to the attending audience. By that, I mean that the story may be told one way for children and another way for an adult audience.
Styles Of Australian Art
Australia prides itself on being multicultural. Did you know that before the arrival of European settlers, there were lots of different languages spoken and thus many and varied cultures. Have a look at the map of Indigenous Australia to find out. It is not surprising that there are many languages, cultures and areas that did and indeed still exist in Australia. Now you may understand why there are so many different styles
Who Can Paint Australian Art
If an artist wants to paint an Aboriginal story, he must get permission to do so. In addition to this, even traditional Aboriginal artists are not allowed to paint a story that does not belong to their own family’s history.
Finally, a word of advice, when buying Australian Aboriginal art, please make sure that it really is authentic. There are, unfortunately, those who paint in the indigenous style and say the work is Aboriginal when it is not.