5 More Aboriginal Art Facts

11. Aboriginal art has many layers of meaning
There are usually three different levels to an Indigenous Australian language; the children’s or ‘public’ version, a general version, and then a ceremonial/spiritual level (which can sometimes have a further three levels within that!). As an indigenous person grows up, they learn more language, and with that more knowledge of culture, ceremonies, and country. A lot of art depicts the ‘public’ version of a dreaming story. The story may appear simple, but there are many, many more levels attached to this story that the artist has learnt to depict the story well.

12. The U symbol in Aboriginal art
Ever wonder how the ‘U-shape’ came about in Aboriginal art to represent a person? It’s quite simple really – if you sit cross legged in the sand, the mark left does look a lot like a U ! That’s why you will see this symbol used a lot in art from the desert. Check out our traditional icons (symbols) page to find out more.
13. Aborigines in Tasmania
There is a terrible misconception that Truganini was the last Tasmanian Aboriginal person – Not True! There is a vibrant and strong Aboriginal community in Tasmania, and some brilliant artists such as Ricky Maynard and Julie Gough. Many Tasmanian Indigenous people continue cultural practises such as the crafting of shell necklaces and basket weaving.
14. Hanging and viewing Aboriginal art
Most art from Central & Western desert is an aerial depiction of the land, and just as there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to hold a map, you can also hang Aboriginal art any way you like! The artists usually paint on the floor and work around the canvas, and usually take no offence which way their art is hung. This makes Aboriginal art very versatile.


Aboriginal skin names
There are certain Indigenous names for men and women that come up all the time – they are known as ‘skin names’ and aren’t as straightforward as a surname! It is a complex kinship system that determines how people are related to each other, their roles & responsibilities to one other, their land and for ceremonies. Find out more about skin names.

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Related Topics:

Rock Art from the Kimberleys
Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories - Jukurrpa
History of the Aboriginal Art Movement