Australian Aboriginal Art: A Cultural History

Australian Aboriginal Art is the traditional and contemporary art of the indigenous Australians. It has developed over time through culture, tradition, and innovation. 

Aboriginal or indigenous Australians are the native inhabitants of Australia. The original inhabitants of Australia are believed to have arrived from Indonesia around 40,000 years ago. They are still known today as Australian Aboriginal people or just Aboriginal people. 

The art of this culture can be seen in their paintings on rock shelters that date back tens of thousands of years ago to their bark paintings on house walls that date back over 6,000 years old to their contemporary artworks made in the 1980s and 1990s which make use of traditional techniques like painting with ochres on paper or canvas. 

 Aboriginal Art Styles and Classification of Styles 

Aboriginal art is a collection of art that originated from the Aboriginal people of Australia. It was traditionally created from materials that were found in their surroundings, such as animal skin and stone. 

Aboriginal Art Styles and Classification of Styles 

  • Geometric Style – This style is characterized by a straight line, zigzag pattern or dot design. Some examples are the “X” type patterns and cross-hatching.
  • Intricate Style – In this style, the patterns resemble tightly woven basketry with many designs that have been meticulously woven together into a single item. The colors used are usually more muted than those found in other styles.
  • Naturalistic Style – This style depicts nature scenes with bold lines. Naturalism is a style of art that shows realistic objects in a natural setting.

Significant Events in the History of Aboriginal Art 

Art is often seen as something that comes naturally to some people, but what about those who can’t get their hands on the supplies to create it. This article discusses the significant events in the history of Aboriginal art and the way it has influenced our society. 

The first event is when western artists came to Australia in 1770 seeking new subjects for their art. They were not welcomed by Aboriginal people but they still had an impact on them, even if they didn’t know it at the time. The second event was when Europeans started trading with Aboriginal people and brought them new materials like cloth and paintbrushes which had a huge impact on their art because they could express themselves in ways that were new to them before then.