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Australian Aboriginal Art


Australian Aboriginal Art What do you think the concentric circles represent? Show students natural ocher from Georgia and pass around Students will receive a handout ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Australian Aboriginal Art


Australian 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
  • Many died from disease or starved when their land
    was taken from them by the Europeans in the 1770s

What is Aboriginal Art?
  • Last traditional art form to be appreciated
  • To understand Aboriginal Art we first need to
    learn about Dreamtime
  • Dreamtime refers to their beliefs of how the land
    and its people were created
  • Believed supernatural beings with magical powers
    created the lands features, animals and plants
    during 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

In Aboriginal culture everyone is an artist
because everyone participates in activities such
as dancing, singing, body decoration, sand
drawing and weaving baskets.
How did Aboriginals create art?
  • Unique subject matter and style
  • Known for their rock paintings, bark paintings,
    sand (or dot paintings), and body decoration
  • Brushes made from bark, plant fibers, twigs, hair
    or feathers
  • Also used fingers or sticks to paint
  • Used natural ochers (minerals) or clay to make
    red, yellow, and white paint
  • Black was made from charcoal

  • Aboriginal Rock Art
  • Longest continuously practiced artistic tradition
    in the world.
  • Ubirr, located in North Australia, has very
    impressive rock paintings.

"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."
How are these two paintings similar? How are they
Bark Painting
  • Tradition for thousands of years
  • Bark is cut into a rectangle, after the wet
    season, when its soft
  • Placed on warm coals, pressed flat with weights
    and sticks tied to both ends with string
  • Painted with natural pigments mixed with a
    natural fixative sticky gum from trees
  • Style is similar to rock paintings and
    illustrates stories
  • Painted on bark for ceremonies, burials, and
    everyday objects such as baskets and belts

Dot Painting
  • Traditional dot paintings were made in sand
  • Contemporary dot paintings are on canvas with
    acrylic paint
  • Depict a story using Aboriginal symbols
  • When you understand the symbols it gives a whole
    new meaning to a dot painting

  • Aboriginals used symbols to represent natural
  • They are shown as tracks left in the ground and
    look like they are seen from a plane.
  • Represent recent tracks left by animals or tracks
    made in the past by ancestors.

Thunder Lightening
Kangaroo tracks tail
Goanna (lizard) dragging tail, footprints on side
Womens Ceremony
Frogs (black) Water holes (blue)
Men Hunting
  • 2nd Grade Objectives
  • Learn how dreamtime beliefs and the Australian
    landscape inspired the creation of Aboriginal
  • Create an interesting way to use your space
    through size, placement, overlapping, use of a
    border or background.
  • Illustrate movement using the technique of
    Aboriginal dot painting.
  • Discuss the purpose of art in Aboriginal culture.

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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 animals silhouette in
    white and using red or yellow for the inside
  • Contemporary artists continue to paint in X-Ray

3rd Grade Objectives
  • Draw an Aboriginal animal of your choice in the
    X-Ray style using anatomy resources.
  • Vary the value (lightness and darkness) of at
    least one color when you paint your X-Ray
  • Create an area of emphasis (center or focus) in
    your artwork using size, color, and line.
  • Associate which artworks from the Aboriginal
    culture were done in the X-Ray style.

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  • 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 appearance
  • Designs may also reflect their role in the family
    or important role in their community

Student Objectives for 4th Grade
  • Produce an exaggerated close-up portrait of
    yourself inspired by the tradition of body
  • Discuss how Aboriginal art reflects the
    relationship between artists and their beliefs
    and values.
  • Analyze how Aboriginal art serves a function (or
    purpose) in their culture.

Student Examples
Todays Objectives
  • Dip and dot for rich color
  • Dot over the entire work, space dots clear and
  • Paint black areas for the eye to rest
  • Each line or shape should have only one color,
    unless its a pattern
  • Try to keep colors balanced and expressive

Student Examples
  • What medium is this an example of?
  • What symbol do you see? What do you think it
  • How is this artwork related to the building
    behind it?

  • Resources
  • Carol, Finley. Aboriginal Art of Australia.
    Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis 1999.
  • Petersen, David. Australia. Childrens Press, New
    York 1998.
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