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Australian Aboriginal Artwork

Aboriginal culture has always been an important part of Australian history. There are three main techniques involved in creating Aboriginal Art – a painting on the body, ground or objects, carving or sculpting, and weaving. Aboriginals create paintings that include dots, lines and shapes. It often tells a story about hunting or gathering food, a journey taken, or an event that has happened.

Australian Aboriginal art is some of the most beautiful and intricate art in the world. It tells stories of the land, the people, and their way of life, and is a vital part of Aboriginal culture. The art is constantly evolving, as new generations of artists create works that reflect their own experiences and perceptions. Many museums and galleries around the world exhibit Australian Aboriginal Art, making it accessible to people from all walks of life.


Indigenous art in Australia is thought to date back at least 30,000 years, making it some of the oldest art in the world. The earliest known examples are rock paintings and engravings, which were created using natural pigments like ochre. Aboriginal artists also made paintings on bark, leaves, and human skin. These artworks were used for a variety of purposes, including ceremonial and spiritual activities, storytelling, and record-keeping.

Over time, the style and subject matter of this art have changed to reflect the changing needs and interests of Aboriginal people. Today, many Aboriginal artists use modern materials and techniques, while still maintaining a strong connection to their culture and traditions. Indigenous art is an important part of Australia’s cultural heritage and continues to play a vital role in their lives.

They would often tell stories through their artwork, depicting aspects of their culture and beliefs. Dreamtime stories were particularly popular, as they offered a way to teach future generations about the history and traditions of the Aboriginal people.

While some traditional techniques are still used, many contemporary artists also experiment with new mediums and styles. Whether traditional or modern, Indigenous art is always incredibly beautiful and deeply meaningful.

Symbols in Aboriginal Art

Original painting by HELENA GABORI

Aboriginal art has a rich and complex history that cannot be fully understood without exploring the meaning behind each symbol. Some common symbols include dots, crosses, or spirals but there are many other symbols with their own meanings.


Dots are perhaps the most iconic symbol in aboriginal art and can be found in paintings, carvings, and jewelry. They often represent the land, the sky, and the animals that inhabit it. In some cases, they might also be used to depict the tracks of animals or the stars in the night sky.



They may be used to depict the four seasons, the four elements, or the four winds. In some cases, crosses may also be used to represent humans or other beings.


They are used to represent the journey of life, as they can be seen in both the natural world and in human beings. They might also be used to depict the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. Spirals can also be used to represent the movement of energy or the flow of time.

Animals in Aboriginal art

Other symbols in Aboriginal Art can include snakes, spiders, and turtles. These animals are often seen as being sacred, as they play an important role in Aboriginal culture and mythology.


They are a symbol of transformation since they can shed their skin and become new creatures, just as humans must sometimes change in order to grow stronger or more mature.

A lot could be said about the many ways that snakes resemble our own lives’ passages from one state-of-being into another – but what’s important here is not only understanding these links on an ideational level (although this will certainly help) but also looking at them through some basic symbolism: A Snake shedding its old disguise so it may take up another identity – The ultimate act of self discovery.


They are often seen as symbols of creativity. They are able to spin webs from their own silk, crafting intricate homes and trapdoors with nimble movements. To many, spiders represent the humble mastermind; the creatures that can build something beautiful and functional from nothing but their own bodies and environment.


Turtles represent symbols of strength and endurance. Their strong shells protect them from predators and the elements, while their ability to keep going even when they’re tired has inspired many people.

In some Indigenous cultures, turtles are also seen as sacred creatures, representing the earth and all its creatures. To many people, they are a reminder of our connection to the natural world and the importance of taking care of our planet.

Aboriginal art is a window into a rich culture with a deep history. By understanding the meaning behind the symbols, we can begin to appreciate the true beauty of Aboriginal art.

Each symbol can have a different meaning for each individual, and it is up to the viewer to decide what the artwork means to them. However, by taking the time to explore the history and meaning behind each symbol, you can gain a greater understanding of this culture and its connection to the land.

Tracking the movement of people or animals is one thing that may be recorded. Some of these symbols may also tell of someone’s territory/clan and can be a tell-tale sign when meeting someone for the first time. If the symbols on their bodies match those of your own, it’s a sign that you’re from the same area. If they don’t, it’s a sign to be cautious.

The ancient people of Australia had a very unique way to share their artwork. They would first draw designs on the soil, which represented what was happening in that particular ceremony or ritualistic event; then they applied body paint with meanings connected to these sacred rituals—outlined by circles and encircled with dots (which stood for time). This enabled those who were uninitiated into their culture’s intricacies to see something meaningful without being able-bodied enough to view all aspects.

Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories

aboriginal artwork

Jukurrpa (translation- “Dreaming” or “Dreamtime” in Warlpiri language) is an ancient term used by many groups in the Central Desert to describe what could possibly be seen as their religion and laws.

The history of Dreamtime stories stretches back thousands of years. These stories are an important part of Aboriginal culture, and they play a significant role in the lives of Indigenous people.

Dreamtime stories are used to teach moral lessons, explain natural phenomena, and pass down history from one generation to the next. In many cases, they also serve as a form of entertainment.

There are ranging from creation myths to tales of love and loss. However, one common thread that runs through all of these stories is the importance of respect for the land.

Aboriginal people have a deep connection to the land, and Dreamtime stories are one way that they express this relationship. The stories teach people how to live in harmony with the natural world and appreciate its many wonders.

Jukurrpa recount the creation of the world and the first humans who lived in it. They explain how the land was formed, how animals came to be, and why things are the way they are today. In many cases, they also provide guidance on how to live a good life.

For example, one popular Dreamtime story is the tale of the two brothers. In this story, two brothers go out hunting and come across a sacred site. One brother decides to take some of the sacred rocks from the site, even though he knows he shouldn’t. This decision leads to a fight between the brothers and ultimately results in the death of one of them.

The story is used to teach people the importance of respecting sacred sites. It also teaches us that we need to be careful when we make decisions, as they can have serious consequences.

When it comes to Dreamtime stories, there is no right or wrong interpretation. Each person is free to make their own meaning from the stories. However, it is important to remember that these stories are an important part of Aboriginal culture and should be respected as such.

By understanding the meaning behind the symbols, we can begin to appreciate its true beauty.

How to Distinguish Between an Original Piece of Aboriginal Art and a Fake

When it comes to Aboriginal art, there are a lot of fakes out there. So, how can you tell the difference between an original piece and a fake?

Here are a few tips:

– Look for symmetry in the design. Aboriginal art is usually very symmetrical.

– Aboriginal artists rarely use straight lines in their work.

– Search for repeating patterns. It often features repeating patterns.

– See natural colors. Aboriginal artists typically use natural colors, such as red ochre and yellow ochre.

– Check the artwork. Genuine aboriginal artwork is usually painted with a brush made from animal hair.

– Check the provenance. If you’re buying an aboriginal art piece, make sure you know where it comes from.

The Value of Aboriginal Art and How it Has Increased Over The Years


Aboriginal art is a valuable part of Australian culture. Apart from a beautiful look it also holds significant historical and cultural value.

The value has increased over the years. This increasing demand has led to a corresponding increase in the price of Aboriginal art.

However, it is important to remember that the value of Indigenous art is not just financial. It is also an important part of Aboriginal culture and history, and it should be respected as such.

How to Care For Your Aboriginal Art

If you want to make sure your artwork lasts for years to come, here are a few tips on how to care for it:

– Keep it out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the colors in Aboriginal art over time.

– Handle it with care. Aboriginal art is delicate, so be careful when handling it.

– Avoid hanging it in damp areas. Dampness can cause the paint to peel and the wood to warp.

– Keep it dust-free. Dust can damage the paint and the wood over time.

Where Can You See Indigenous Art

It can be found in galleries and museums all over the world. However, if you want to experience the real spirit, there are places in Australia.

Australia is home to a number of Aboriginal art galleries, which showcase the work of some of the country’s best artists. The most famous Aboriginal art gallery is the National Gallery of Australia, which is located in Canberra.

There are many places where you can see aboriginal art in person. Some of the most popular galleries and museums that showcase aboriginal art include the following:

– National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

– Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

– Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane

– Museum and Gallery of Western Australia, Perth

– South Australian Museum, Adelaide

– Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart

– National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

One of the most famous Aboriginal centres is in Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). Uluru is a sacred site for Aboriginal people, and it is home to some of the most beautiful Aboriginal art.

Famous Aboriginal Artists

Albert Namatjira – was a renowned Australian artist who lived from 1902 to 1959. He had paintings, sculptures, and other artworks throughout his lifetime which reflect the struggles he experienced as well as celebrating their successes in this vast outback wilderness where they originated from. 

Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri – he is best known for his work in the area of Aboriginal dot painting. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s paintings are characterized by their intricate patterns and bright colors. His work is highly regarded by critics and has been exhibited in many prestigious galleries around the world.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye – her dot paintings are instantly recognizable. With a long drive by intuition and sheer revelatory forces from within herself – not unlike her indigenous heritage- this artist has captured moments that will never be forgotten or replicated with just words alone.

Gloria Petyarre – an Aboriginal Australian artist. She is best known for her silk paintings which depict the stories and Dreamings of her people. Petyarre has won numerous awards for her art, including the prestigious Warlukurlangu Artists Scholarship.

Rover Thomas – he was an Australian Aboriginal artist who lived and worked in the traditional manner of his people. He is best known for his colorful paintings, which depict scenes from his everyday life and the legends of his tribe. Thomas’s art is celebrated for its unique portrayal of the Australian landscape and its people.

Kathleen Petyarreshe began painting at a young age and has since become one of Alice Springs’ most celebrated artists. She used a technique of layering very fine dots of thin acrylic paint onto the canvas and ceremonial body painting. The dots represented also flowers, animated clouds of sand, hail or even bush seeds. Meanwhile, various shapes and colours are used to illustrate geographical features – sand-hills, watercourses and rockholes.

The creative talent of these artists is something to behold. The variety and originality that each artist brings forth have captured the imagination not only of collectors all over but also baffles them with how they could ever choose just one piece among so many options!

Evolution of Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal art has a long and varied history, and it has evolved significantly over the years. The first Indigenous paintings were created thousands of years ago, and they were used to depict stories and legends from the Aboriginal oral tradition.

In the early days, aboriginal art was created using natural materials such as ochre, charcoal, and blood. These days, however, modern materials such as acrylic paint and canvas are used.

Indigenous art was traditionally created on objects such as rocks, bark, leaves, and weapons. However, these days it is also common to see it painted on canvas and other surfaces.

The use of traditional Aboriginal symbols and motifs is an important part of Aboriginal art. These symbols and motifs are often used to tell stories or convey messages.

It is also a popular tourist attraction, with visitors from all over the world coming to see the beautiful artwork on display in Australia.

You can purchase these paintings in galleries and dealers that sell it. You can also find Aboriginal art for sale online.


Today, Aboriginal artists continue to create stunning works of art that reflect their heritage and culture. While some traditional techniques are still used, many contemporary artists also experiment with new mediums and styles. Whether traditional or modern, Aboriginal art is always incredibly beautiful and deeply meaningful.

Aboriginal art has always been popular with collectors, but its value has increased significantly in recent years. This is due in part to the increasing popularity of this art worldwide, and also to the increasing demand from collectors.

The value can range from hundreds or thousands of dollars, and some pieces have even been sold for millions.

If you are interested in purchasing Aboriginal art, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to make sure that you are buying from a reputable source. There are many fake Aboriginal paintings on the market, so it is important to buy from a dealer who specializes in it.

Indigenous art is a beautiful and powerful expression of history, culture, and identity. It is important to support contemporary Aboriginal artists, who are working hard to keep their traditions alive and share their unique perspectives with the world.

Australian Aboriginal artwork is some of the most beautiful and intricate in the world. It has a long and varied history, and it has evolved significantly over the years.

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1 Comment

  1. I love Australian Aboriginal artworks and I am a fun of their unqiue history and culture. Enjoyed learning more about their art and it’s a good read. – Knycx Journeying

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