Indigenous to Australia, aboriginal art is religiously linked to cultural ceremonies and rituals. These paintings, carvings, sculptures and clothing bring a zest of culture into any personal or professional space. While many interior designers buy aboriginal paintings to liven up a room, if you consider doing the same, here are some quick facts you must know before owning authentic masterpieces.
Dreamtime stories have a history of longer than 50,000 years. They are based on a time when the aboriginal people of Australia believed the world was created. During the Dreaming, the land was inhabited by heroic creatures with majestic powers. Aboriginal paintings are based on stories and ancient symbols associated with Dreamtime.
The symbols used in the paintings have more cultural significance than most people know. Aboriginal people do not have their own language and communicate in symbols. The symbols in paintings are thus mighty messengers. Dot paintings, in particular, were used to write secret messages to protect sacred knowledge from foreigners.
For this reason, aboriginal iconography is traditionally passed down knowledge to younger generations. Paintings are used to teach children, as well as to tell stories to adults. The same symbols can take on different meanings in different cultures and contexts, making the knowledge and meaning behind the painting very versatile.
Want to Make Aboriginal Art? Get Permission First!
While using aboriginal painting styles has become a trendy (although ethically questionable) practice in art, telling a story through the paintings is an affair that is strictly monitored. If you want to paint a story with traditional knowledge and secrets, the story must belong to you. That means you must own the story through familial lineage.
The patterns in aboriginal artwork make them attractive no matter how you look at them. If you’re an amateur but love appreciating artwork, don’t worry too much about orientation! Aboriginal paintings are made to be displayed in portrait as well as landscape. It does not offend or change any aspect of the art.
What that means is that when you buy aboriginal paintings, you can pick later where to put them up! If you have a short table, you can hang them up as portraits, whereas if you’re thinking about hanging them over the fireplace or above the bed, you can create better symmetry in your room by hanging them up in the landscape orientation. This is one of the reasons aboriginal art is blowing up in the world of interior design right now.
Aboriginal Art: The Origin Story
Before people started seeing art as an investment, aboriginal art was made on leaves, rocks, and sand. Putting these designs on a canvas was a movement that only began some 50 years ago. It was a school teacher by the name of Geoffrey Bardon who noticed aboriginal men making symbols on the ground while teaching younger children. He asked them to put these designs on a canvas and thus began the aboriginal art movement.
It has become a part of contemporary art, instilling a sense of culture and respect for ancestry in anyone who appreciates the longevity and history preserved through traditional art forms. As it is still a young and relatively rare art form, the future looks bright for anyone who invests in aboriginal art. The world now discovers Aboriginal Australians’ rich culture and heritage by benefiting from international markets.