Australia A continent nearly the size of the United States located on the opposite side of the Earth. Both the U.S. and Australia have other similarities: Countries dominated by Western cultural traditions established by European settlers. Both had already been inhabited by groups of native people for thousands of years. Native Americans in the U.S. and Aborigines in Australia.
Native Americans & Aborigines Lived by hunting, moving across the land in harmony with nature (following animals). Architecture was temporary. The materials they used were simple, natural, and functional.
Historical Background 1770: Australia was claimed by the British. They began to send shiploads of convicts there (it was a penal colony). When other European settlers arrived, the Aborigines suffered a similar fate to the Native Americans in the U.S. Some were killed, others died of disease and eventually some were put on reservations.
1960s: The Australian government built a settlement in the central desert to house what was left of the Aboriginal people. 1971: a European art instructor encouraged some Aboriginal men to paint murals based on ancient patterns that had never been seen outside of Australia before. 1980s: Aboriginal art was finally recognized by the world as an important art form.
Aboriginal Beliefs They believed that everything in today’s world was created by Ancestral Beings long ago, during a period known as Dreamtime. Dreamtime Ancestor by Djawida, 1985 in Aboriginal Art by Wally Caruana, Thames & Hudson, 1993.
These beings moved across the earth creating the land, people, animals, and the heavens. Then, they sank back into the earth and their spirits turned into landscape features that are regarded as sacred places.
The spirits of these beings, known as The Dreaming, live on. Aborigines renew their connections with this force through art and ritual. Western artists create works of art, Aboriginal artists find their designs in dreams or through unusual experiences.
Aborigines Today The Aboriginal community in Australia is very small- only about 1 percent of the total population. It is extremely varied and complex. Each group has its own identity.
Introduction to Aboriginal Art Very different from the kind of art we are familiar with. Originally it could only be created or viewed by people initiated to the proper level of knowledge or understanding. Their art was made for different reasons: Each piece (music, literature, painting, dance) has a definite story, meaning, or function. The process of creation is more important than the result.
Music Music is used to tell stories and is passed on from generation to generation. The didgeridoo (also known as a didjeridu or didge) is a wind instrument developed by Aboriginal Australians about 1,500 years ago.
Paintings Many forms- based on the materials available in the different parts of Australia. Northern Section: tree- covered so artists carved wooden sculptures and created paintings made of bark.
Bark Paintings Bark paintings were created as part of a ritual and then destroyed. In the 1970s, artists began saving them. They were originally created to communicate stories, messages, or spiritual qualities. They are abstract images (reduced to their most basic shapes). WHAT DO THESE PAINTINGS REMIND YOU OF? (Show pictures)
Subjects and Materials Almost all of the artists use the same design styles (they also make the paintings using dots and symbols in their art). Many designs in Aboriginal art were reproduced as part of special ceremonies. Most artists worked on surfaces that are unfamiliar to us, such as bark, sand, rocks, and the human body. They used simple, rough mediums (what they used to create the art) and techniques.
Animals, fish, birds, and plants are usually shown in profile.
Turtles, frogs, and reptiles are shown from the top.
Wandjina Cave Paintings Painted on rock walls many centuries ago, these ghostlike Ancestral Beings with round, black eyes were believed to control the weather.