Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Aboriginal Art

One of our many goals for our Australian experience was to learn about and purchase some unique Aboriginal art.  We've been looking for the right piece since we arrived and have visited galleries and shops in Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Perth, Darwin, and many smaller cities in between.

We made our first Aboriginal art purchase in Katherine, and followed it up by adding to our collection in Alice Springs.  We had a great experience working with Aboriginal Art World.  Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures to share as our selections are wrapped for travel home.

Australian Aboriginal art is a relatively recent innovation, but it is based on ancient rock art, body art, and traditional ceremonies.  The most recognizable is the Central Desert "dot" form, but there are many other styles.  For example, the northern part of the country uses a "cross-hatch" or "x-ray" style which closely follows the impressive rock art of the area.

The predominant medium is canvas or linen, but other objects are often utilized.  Many boomerangs and didgeridoos are painted, etchings are made on bone or boab nuts, clap sticks can be painted or wood burned, and baskets are dyed and woven.

The Aboriginal art movement began in the early 1970s when a schoolteacher encouraged Aboriginal children to paint a mural.  The elders in the area believed that the children were not prepared to depict traditional ceremonies and several elder men completed the mural.  Since then, the art form has continued to grow and expand.  The potential subject matter for the paintings is diverse.  Subjects include "bush tucker," animals, depictions of homeland regions, aspects of women's ceremonies, and "Dreamtime" representations.

We've had a great experience learning about this window into an ancient culture.

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