Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Aboriginal Art, Part I- Bark Painting

Aborigines have lived in Australia for thousands of years. They are the natives of Australia, just like Native Americans are the natives of the U.S. Aborigines have a long history of creating beautiful art that shows their beliefs, Australian animals, and even the weather that is typical of parts of Australia.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting about the art of the Aborigines.

A lot of Aboriginal art shows the beliefs of the native Australians. The Aborigines believe that magical creatures lived on earth long before humans did. These creatures created the earth from flat land. Aborigines believe that all the land forms were created in the shapes of animals. For example, rivers were created in the shape of a snake.

In northern Australia, in an area called Arnhem Land, Aboriginal artists often paint on bark. The artists strip the bark off of eucalyptus trees. They let the bark dry and then paint on the inside of the bark. They use natural colors like brown, yellow, white, and orange.


The patterns and designs used in bark painting have been around for a long time. They were painted on bodies during rituals and used to decorate logs during certain ceremonies. Aboriginal artists began painting on pieces of bark about 100 years ago.

The artists paint scenes about the way the land was created. These paintings usually include animals because many of the Aboriginal myths were about animals.

The Aborigines also have myths about spirits who were so skinny they could be broken by wind. They lived in caves and under rocks where they were safe from the wind. They taught the Aborigines to hunt and to paint. These spirits, called Mimis, are found in many Aboriginal bark paintings.

Some paintings show constellations. The Aborigines see different pictures than we do when they look at the stars, though. Their constellation paintings often include animals, too.

You will also see paintings of footprints and paw prints. This is because the Aborigines are good at tracking animals and they are good hunters. The Aborigines hunt for food so hunting is very important to them.

Check out this gallery of Aboriginal bark painting from Arnhem Land.

Tomorrow, create your own Aboriginal bark painting!

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18 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is a really good page keep it up!!!!! :-)

Aboriginal Art said...

Australian Aboriginal peoples have created art that shows their spiritual and cultural traditions for thousands of years. In the 1970s this form of art was introduced to Western audiences and it has become increasingly popular. Aboriginal paintings sell in galleries for thousands of dollars, and can be seen in museums throughout the world other than Australia. You can use a variety of online resources to learn how to draw in this Aboriginal style.

Rosetta said...
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Anonymous said...

This information is great but you should add what they use to make aboriginal art.

Caroline said...

great job! this site is great for learning things and i used it for a project. Though i agree with the 2nd anonymous. Great work keep it up

Anonymous said...

amazing !!! this really helped me in school thanks a lot!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you i couldn't find ANYTHING else on the internet!!!!

bark up wrong t r e e said...

cool

Anonymous said...

This was well coolB-).

Anonymous said...

I thougt this sight was amazing as I have a homework that tells us to write about aboriginal art. Fantastic site. I will reccommend it to everyone I can!

Anonymous said...

Thanks this has really helped with my art research, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Thanks this has really helped with my art research, keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Great! Very interesting, maybe could have added a bit more detail on the different medias they use, other than that pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

This is really great, it helped so much with my homework. I got an A*!!!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

This is really great, it helped so much with my homework. I got an A*!!!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

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Georgia :D said...

Thanks! This really helped me with my art homework and it wasn't hard to understand! :D