Australian Aboriginal Art sample essay
The aboriginal people mainly used ochre for artworks, such as on rock, wood, bark and the human body.Ochre is mined from particular sites. It is a special type of rock that’s heavily coloured because of the iron oxide contained inside, and comes in a variety of colours: yellow, white, red, purple (it is identical to red ochre chemically but of a different hue) and brown.
It could be used on rock (cave walls, or just big rocks), wood (shields, log coffins, etc.), bark and skin, and artifacts. To get the paint from ochre rocks, one simply needs to find a rich coloured rock, ground it up, and add oil.Other materials such as charcoal and plant colourings were used to make black and dark green. Twigs, fibres and fingers were also used to get different strokes of paint, similar to the use of paintbrushes.
Art is central to the Aboriginal life. It can be made for political, social, utilitarian and didactive purposes, and is inherently connected to the religious domain. Art is also a means by which the present is connected with the past and the humans with the supernatural. Art also activates the powers of the ancestral beings, expresses individual and group identity and the relationships between the land and the people.
It was not until the eighteenth century, when the Europeans came to Australia, that Aboriginal art stopped being made only to fulfill traditional cultural needs, and this has only remained the in the case in varying degrees since.
Contemporary Aboriginal Painting Methods
In the 1930s, artists Rex Battarbee and John Gardner first introduced watercolour painting to an Indigenous man, who later used to create landscape paintings and were immediately successful and became the first indigenous Australian watercolourist.
The word “contemporary” means modern or of the present time. Contemporary aboriginal paintings have adapted the usage of canvas and acrylic paints. Even though these arts still uses the traditional styles and symbols, the methods are a bit different. It is a mixture of the traditional and the modern culture.
The main reasons that the European painting materials began to be popular so quickly is because using acrylic colours and canvas saves a lot of time for them and at easy to sell. You can’t really be expected to bring a big boulder to sell! Of course, even so, some artists still paint using the traditional methods.
Different artists from different regions create different artworks because of their different surroundings and understandings. But even though their artworks are different, their subjects are all the same: Dream time. Aboriginal paintings and drawings are created to show how they live and how they think the world is made. Even though the materials changed, it doesn’t change the subject.
Some paintings also show the aboriginals’ beliefs, but they are sacred to the tribe. These sacred paintings and drawings are only allowed to be viewed by the tribe and nobody else.
2 Contemporary aboriginal artists:
Albert Namatjira was an Australian artist. He was an Indigenous Australian of the Western MacDonnell Ranges area. He is perhaps one of Australia’s best known Aboriginal painter.
He was famous for his watercolour Australian outback desert landscapes, which were not in the symbolic style of the traditional paintings, but very detailed and colourful.
Another is Barbara Weir. She is an Australian Aboriginal artist and politician. Her paintings include representations of particular plants and dreamings, inspired by deep Aboriginal traditions. She uses two distinctive stylistic conventions, which are linear and dot painting.
* Aboriginal art by Caruana, Wally
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