Top Facts About Australian Aboriginal Art

Did you know that Aboriginal culture in Australia dates back to around 60,000-80,000 years ago? The first evidence of the philosophy and ethos of the Aboriginal people can be found in their rock art dating back over 20,000 years. Aboriginal art in Australia has caught on to a large extent and become very popular due to the unique storytelling technique, use of colour and composition.

There are many art centres in Australia where these Aboriginal artworks are displayed in exhibitions and shows. If you are planning on attending one of these shows but want to know a little about Aboriginal art first, you should go through the following:

1. Permission To Paint A Story

A traditional Aboriginal artist must take permission from family and tribe members before painting a particular story. This is especially true if this is an ancient or sacred story that dates back a long time. An artist is also not permitted to paint a story that is not directly related to his or her’s family lineage.

2. Dots Have Hidden Meanings

  • Aboriginal tribes started putting dots in their artwork and paintings when White people settled in Australia.
  • This is because they felt that non-indigenous people could gain secret knowledge from the paintings and use it against their culture.
  • So, the tribes started putting double dots in their paintings whose meanings were hidden from the non-indigenous people.
  • These double dot techniques are very popular among these tribes, especially the Pintupi tribe in West Australia.

3. Paintings Depict The Dreamtime Era

Most of Australia’s Indigenous arts and languages are from the Dreamtime era, wherein Aboriginal people thought the world was created. This era is said to be over 50,000 years ago and the traditions have been passed down through generations.

4. Paintings Have Teachings

These indigenous paintings in Australia have many cultural symbols and icons depicting various stories and lessons. Some of these paintings are made especially for children to teach them valuable lessons about their culture, and some paintings are for adults with higher learning philosophies.

5. Highly Valued Artworks

These aboriginal paintings and artworks are highly valued and priced at grand numbers at art centres and exhibitions in Australia. For instance, the highest amount an aboriginal artwork in Australia was sold for was a whopping 2.4 million dollars. This painting was the “Warlugulong”, bought by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). Another famous painting made by an indigenous woman in Australia was Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s work ‘Earth’s Creation’, which sold for 2.1 million.


Now that you have some knowledge of Aboriginal artwork, you can see how rich the culture and traditions are and how each painting tells a different story. You can now go check out these artworks at an art centre in Australia and enjoy the brilliant depiction of Aboriginal life and traditions. Immerse yourself in the history of this region through these visual stories and enjoy some of the best art forms in Australia.

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East Coast Encounter Art Centre

Explore the best indigenous artwork available in Brisbane by local and emerging artists. We are passionate about encouraging visual representations of dreamtime stories passed down through generations. Additionally, you will find exhibitions for paintings, photographs and other art representing ethics, culture, historical events and more. Come visit us now!

Contact Info

28 Flint St, Inala Brisbane QLD 4077, Australia
(07) 3806 5496