By Kamran Hashim
SHARJAH: ArtOne62 Gallery hosted a display of artworks titled as “The story of Australian Aboriginal Art”, this artwork consist of Australian Aboriginal Art specially brought in from Australia in collaboration with Gallery One62 Australia. Opening reception of this exhibition was held on Tuesday 28th January 2020 at 06:00 pm at ArtOne62 Gallery in Clifton Block 04. This exhibition will continue till 31st January 2020 (excluding Sunday).
Aboriginal culture dates back as far as between 60,000 to 80,000 years. This is when Aborigine’s first settled in Australia. It is imperative to pass on information to preserve their culture. Indigenous art is centered on story-telling. It is used as a chronicle to convey knowledge of the land, events and beliefs of the Aboriginal people.
Aboriginal people do not have their own written language as so they make use of many common symbols (often called iconography) in their artwork. Although these vary from region to region, they are generally understood and form an important part of Australian Indigenous Art. A few of the more common ones and some variations are shown here. A painting may have several levels of story depending on whether the story is being told to children, initiates or among elders or law people. The meaning of the symbols can change depending on the context of the story concerned.
In 1971, a school teacher named Geoffrey Bardon was working with aboriginal children in Papunya near Alice Springs, when he noticed that whilst the aboriginal men were telling stories, they would draw symbols in the sands. He encouraged them to paint the stories onto canvas and board. With that began the famous Aboriginal Art Movement. It was a major jump for indigenous people to start painting their stories onto western facades which was a very foreign concept to them.
Since its inception Australian Aboriginal Art has been identified as the most exciting contemporary art form of the 20th century. An aboriginal artist needs permission to paint particular stories. For some stories they inherit the rights to these stories which are passed down through generations within certain skin groups. An aboriginal artist cannot paint a story that does not belong to them through family.
As per Australian law, this indigenous art form cannot be made by anyone not hailing from ethnic aboriginal roots, thus giving this art an exclusive right of making and ownership.