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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