Who Are The Aborigines?
Aborigines are Australia's indigenous people. Recent government statistics counted approximately 400,000 Aboriginal people in Australia or about 2% of Australia's population.
Aboriginal spirituality entails a close relationship between people and the land. Aborigines called the beginning of the world the "Dreaming" or the "Dreamtime". In the "Dreamtime", Aboriginal "ancestors" rose from below the earth to form various parts of nature including animal species, bodies of water and the sky.
Aboriginal art is amongst the oldest in the world. Their art expresses the ancient origins of life and the landscapes, stretching back into the infinite past, the Dreamtime. Traditionally, every adult in the desert is an artist. For pigments they use plant down, different coloured ochres and clays. By using a chewed twig they apply the pigments to pieces of bark.
The styles of Aboriginal art, which developed over thousands of years, appear simple but are in reality a mature, fully established medium, strengthened by eons of folklore, mythology and customs. To the Aboriginals they embodied the values and beliefs of their world and formed an integral part of social and cultural life. Modern aboriginal artworks, often in acrylic on canvas, may use traditional styles such as the "dot" technique. This evolved from the ground art that sometimes accompanies ceremonial dance and song. The subject matter may be a Dreamtime journey, depicting the wondering of spirit ancestors.
Dot painting is, by definition, the use of dots of paint to create an image of native plants, animals or natural phenomena. Using natural ochres and oxides, dot painting is of the best known forms of aboriginal art. Dot painting on paper was introduced as an alternative to bark in the past few years as it was seen to have a distinct advantage for both artist and buyer.
X-ray paintings and images of spirit ancestors, are found in ancient but extraordinarily beautiful rock paintings in the northern part of Australia. The term X-ray art was originally used because the paintings of figures, animals, birds and fish revealed the integral organs as well as the external features. This unique style of painting has been transferred to other Aboriginal art forms including screen printing.
Below are some samples of Aboriginal icons as applied to the Central Desert Art