2THE DREAMINGAboriginal art dates as far back as 50,000 years ago. The earliest works are drawings and carvings on rocks. In some area of Australia, Aborigine artists still make their own paints and brushes. In the northern part of Australia, the X-ray painting is still being created today. Tree bark is used in place of canvas. In the western desert areas, where Papunya dot paintings are made, 20th century art materials are being used to produce millennia old imagery. In both cases, the imagery relates to Dreaming. The Dreaming is the time of creation whose stories explain how the landscape was made by super beings. Along with the Dreaming stories, the rights to paint specific images from them, are past down from generation to generation.These works of art are of interest for what they tell us about Aborigine culture as well as their appeal to contemporary art.
13“Muliera Two by Bob Tjungurrayi The painting depicts ceremonial body paint. Men paint curving lines from their ankles to their shoulders and adorn themselves with a plant fiber called Wamulu. The fiber has colors added and is represented by the background dots.
14“Women Collecting Bush Plums by Irene Naparula The painting shows women picking bush plums. Each have their own digging stick and coolamon (wooden bowl) to collect food. The dot paintings show the landscape from an aerial view.
17Aerial View of central Australia near Ayers Rock
18This dot painting show the rhythm of a city as viewed from above
19Can you see the rhythm in this aerial view Can you see the rhythm in this aerial view. Try to do a sketch showing the major lines and intersections. What colors would you use to create a dot painting form this?
26The "X-ray" tradition in Aboriginal art is thought to have developed around 2000 B.C. and continues to the present day. As its name implies, the X-ray style depicts animals or human figures in which the internal organs and bone structures are clearly visible. X-ray art includes sacred images of ancestral supernatural beings as well as secular works depicting fish and animals that were important food sources. In many instances, the paintings show fish and game species from the local area. Through the creation of X-ray art, Aboriginal painters express their ongoing relationships with the natural and supernatural worlds.
27To create an X-ray image, the artist begins by painting a silhouette of the figure, often in white, and then adding the internal details in red or yellow. For red, yellow, and white paints, the artist uses natural ocher pigments mined from mineral deposits, while black is derived from charcoal. Early X-ray images depict the backbone, ribs, and internal organs of humans and animals. Later examples also include features such as muscle masses, body fat, optic nerves, and breast milk in women. Some works created after European contact even show rifles with bullets visible inside them.
29Go to this web site and try your hand at becoming an X-Ray painter.
30Norval Morrisseau was born in the early 1930s on the Sandy Point Lake Reserve north of Thunder Bay in Ontario Canada.He was raised by his Grandparents and through them learned traditional Ojibwa customs, values and beliefs. It was in his youth that he received - from his Grandfather - his "mission" to share through art, all of those things he was taught to respect about Ojibwa culture.During the 1950's, Morrisseau was hospitalized with Tuberculosis. While in hospital, he began painting and drawing his visions on birch bark and brown paper bags ... he painted visions which were uniquely his own. Later, in the 1960's he traveled widely to bush communities in Canada and visited some northern Minnesota reservations where he met with many who today are considered knowledgeable elders, both to learn from them and to teach. He taught by painting, as well as writing.A medicine man or shaman, Morrisseau developed a style which has since evolved and been used by many Native artists. The style is called the Eastern Woodland Style and can be seen in the works of Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray and Blake Debassige.His style often shows both the exterior and interior of an animal, similar to the X-Ray paintings of the Aboriginal Art of Australia.
31Go to the following web site by clicking on this link to explore the various animals native to Australia. X-Ray paintings usually use these animals as their subject matter. Now go to the second link. This shows animals native to Wyoming. Select one animal and complete an X-Ray drawing of this Wyoming animal. Complete your painting by creating a decorative background typical of Australian paintings.Australian animalsWyoming animals
32Aboriginal dancers decorate not only bark but also their bodies in the X-Ray and dot painting style.