What is Aboriginal Art?

Aboriginal Art
Who are the Aborigines?
•Aborigine means “native”
•Original people of Australia
•Traveled in canoes from SE Asia
•Lived there at least 40,000 years as the only
•Developed unique beliefs about creation
•Survived as hunters and observers
What is Aboriginal Art?
•Last traditional art form to be appreciated
•To understand Aboriginal Art we first need
to learn about Dreamtime
•Art is a way to stay in touch with their
ancestry and be a part of the natural world
Dreamtime Stories
•Passed down through generations by word
of mouth
•Artworks depict deep meaning told through
dreamtime stories
•Basis of value and belief system, affects
their interaction with the land and animals
•Land is sacred because it contains their
heritage, history, and powerful ancestors or
How did Aboriginals create art?
•Unique subject matter and style
•Rock paintings, bark paintings, sand (or dot
paintings), and body decoration
•fingers or sticks to paint
•Used natural ochers (minerals) or clay
Rock Art
•Longest continuously
practiced artistic
tradition in the world.
•Ubirr, located in North
Australia, has very
impressive rock
"One old man in Arnhem Land
remembered being carried as a
child on his father's shoulders
as his father climbed up a log
leaning against a rock wall. His
father then sprayed his hand
with red ochre against the
rock, leaving a stencil he could
still recognize many years
later. The main function of the
stencils was to record people's
presence and association with
a site."
X-Ray Style Painting
•Developed around 2000 B.C.
•Found in shallow caves or rock shelters particularly in Western and
Northern Australia
•Simple exterior animal shapes that depict internal organs, bone structure
(ribs, back bone), or baby animal inside
•Created by painting the animal’s silhouette in white and using red or
yellow for the inside
Body Decoration
•Traditional practice for ceremonies
•Includes scarring, smeared clay or
ochres on face, wearing ornaments
and headdress
•Deep spiritual significance
•Geometric designs
•Use respected patterns of an
ancestor to take on their living
•Designs may also reflect their role
in the family or important role in
their community
Early African Art
& other textile styles
What is KORHOGO?
‘RITUAL and MAGIC’ are part of Korhogo .
Fila is the name of the cloth that the Senufo
people of Ivory Coast would wear for ‘protection’
It is a white, hand-woven cotton on which black
& gray drawings are painted with vegetable
juices & mud.
The clothing items are worn on certain days of
the week.
Part of the ritual would require the wearers to
observe certain restrictions of food and other
Mud Cloth Fabric is…
Made using ancient and extensive process.
Fabric is all hand spun making individual cloth
Each strip of cloth is sewed together. Fabric is
then dyed in tea made from the Bogalon tree
found in Mali, West Africa.
The tea acts as a fixative for mud painted
designs that are hand painted, using specially
prepared mud.
Some designs are then bleached after the entire
process is complete to give white designs.
Ivory Coast in part of West
Korhogo weavers
Korhogo is a village that is
known for its weaving and
cloth designs
Ivory Coast
Guro Tribe
Guro Shield
Rams head
mounted on a
concave shield.
The head is
surmounted with
the usual
abstract bird.
African Masks and Sculptures:
What similarities do you see?
Some Modern Artists Influenced
by Africa:
-Pablo Picasso
-Henri Matisse
-Maurice de Vlaminck
-Amedeo Modigliani
-George Braque

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