READ THIS INFORMATION AS IT MAY HELP YOU WHEN YOU DESIGN YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS FOR YOUR BOOK NEXT WEEK. IF YOU CLICK ON THE PICTURES AT THE BOTTOM YOU CAN SEE SOME OF THE SYMBOLS THAT ARE USED IN ABORIGINAL ART.
The art of the Aboriginal culture, as can be seen in many of the sacred sites, rock and cave paintings, used few colours as they were often made from what was available locally.
Some colours were mined from ‘ochre pits’, being used for both painting and ceremonies, with ochre also traded between clans and at one time could only be collected by specific men within the clan. Other pigments were made from clay, wood ash or animal blood. There were variations in the symbols used in some rock art and paintings, depending on the tribe or region of Australia that you belong to, which is still evident today in the modern art work of Aboriginal artists.
Certain symbols used in the art retain the same meaning across regions, although the meaning of the same symbols may change within the context of the whole painting. When viewed in black and white other symbols can look similar, such as the circles within circles, sometimes depicted on their own, sparsely or in clustered groups. When this symbol is used and depending on the Aboriginal tribe you belong to, it can vary in meaning from campfire, tree, hill, digging hole, waterhole or spring. Use of the symbol can be clarified further by the use of colour, such as water being depicted in blue or black.
Many paintings by Aboriginal artists, such as those that represent a ‘dreamtime story’, are shown from an aerial perspective (from above). The story follows the lie of the land, as created by ancestral beings in their journey or during creation. The modern day art is a reinterpretation of songs, ceremonies, rock art and body art that was the norm for many thousands of years.
Which symbols will you use?