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Aboriginal Art. CULTURAL TRADITIONS Charlene McDermott.

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aboriginal art

Aboriginal Art


Charlene McDermott


Through Aboriginal Artwork we have learnt stories of our past, journeys and day to day living of our ancestors. We have learnt more of the creator ancestors who made the trees, rocks, waterholes, rivers, mountains and stars, as well as the animals and plants.

We are told of the good and bad behaviours that are demonstrated in Dreaming stories as ancestors hunt, marry, care for children and defend themselves from their enemies.
Like European art, Aboriginal art represents and symbolises the world and the beliefs of people. Traditional Aboriginal art represents the Dreaming but is often also a vital part of ceremonies.
The concept of art in traditional Aboriginal society is very different to the concept of art in European society. In traditional Aboriginal societies, activities like dancing, singing, body decorations, sand drawings, making implements or weaving baskets were not considered to be separate activities called art and design. All of these activities were a part of the Dreaming and a part of normal daily life.
There was no concept of a special type of person, artists, because, in a sense, everyone was an artist. This is changing as tradition-oriented communities adapt to aspects of western culture although the number of 'artists' in any Aboriginal group would generally be far greater than in non-Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal people traditionally used the materials available to them to symbolise the Dreaming and their world. As a result, art forms varied in different areas of Australia.

In the central desert, ground drawing was a very important style of art and throughout Australia rock art as well as body painting and decoration were common although varying in styles, method, materials and meaning. There is and was a wide range of traditional Aboriginal art forms.
Communities today throughout Australia still produce traditional art, which has traditional content and meaning. However, some methods of producing the art may be contemporary.Such as the paint or the canvas used in the work, or even the change in style of the painting.
For thousands of years Aboriginal Art has played a major part in teaching more about our identity. It is important to keep this wonderful part of our culture alive for many more to come!