Australia's Indigenous Artists.
Australia is a large country there hundreds different aboriginal language groups. But here we have divided the art and the artists into two very very board groups Central Australian Desert Art and North Australian Art which is predominately ArnhemLand art and artists
There is no, nor was there ever any one pan Australian Aboriginal language. Language groups were indeed quite localised. The aboriginal peoples of Australia had no written language. The passing on of information was in ceremony that involved stories with song and dance to emphasis their importance. These ceremonies in the rocky escapement ares of North and Western Australia were recorded in the form of rock art. There are whole rock escarpment galleries in Arnhem Land where ceremony stories and happenings have been painted over an over each other for 1,000’s of years. In Central Desert area of Australia these ceremonies story lines , like designs were drawn in the sand. Some of these mosaics were quite large in area. Circles, symbols, balls of spinifex and different coloured sands depicted the stories of food gather sacred underground water holes camps etc Eventually it was danced on and after ceremony the depictions in the sand gone.
Central Desert Artists
The famous dot paintings from central Australia really have their origins in the early 1970’s when a school teacher saw some of these ceremonial designs in the sand and thought there was no permanent record of these events and so he got the custodian elders of those ceremonies to recreate them on to artist boards. Where they used lines of rocks, markers and lines in the sand they used dots So began the dot paintings. Todays artists and custodians of the stories have been introduced to a world of colourful acrylic paints which the artist have used retell the ceremonies in lots of modern imaginative ways . It was an art revolution. And the central desert aboriginal art scene is a thriving contemporary art moment that is very colourful and popular around the world.
Arnhem Land Artists
In the North the Arnhem Land artists have been painting the same stories in pretty much the same fashion as the ancient rock artist carring on the traditions and ceremonial responsibilities passed down from one generation to the next. Arnhem Land artists use different styles of crosshatching call rarrk . Each tribal group has its own rare design and they will not paint each others. The colour pattern sequence of the lines is unique to each and it is painted on the bodies for ceremony. It has been carried over into the art.