Aboriginal Art


Simply put, aboriginal art is visuals created by the indigenous people of Australia and Torres Strait Islanders. These creations include paintings on leaves, rock carvings, body paint, sand paintings, and more. Aboriginal art has been around for centuries and date back over 30,000 years.

Most aboriginal art is symbolic and centred around dreamtime stories. They are used by tribal people to tell stories and pass them down generations. However, now aboriginal art has become mainstream and there are artists who have made millions from selling them. Aboriginal art today can be found in various forms such as canvas paintings, board paintings, bark painting, dot painting, carvings, sculptures, string art, weavings, etc.

At Harrison Galleries, we support emerging and established artists who create aboriginal art by hosting at least three exhibitions every year. What’s more, we ensure this form of art gets the recognition it deserves by publicising about our events and collects we have on display. So, whether you are an art collector or seller, get in touch with us.


Here are ten fantastic and wonderful facts about the aboriginal art that will make it more interesting that you may find it already.

  • Most of the aboriginal art is based on the ‘Dreamtime’ and its stories. This time is described by the indigenous people as the period when they believe the world was formulated. Many people share stories of the dreamtime with their children and children of children making passing of the tales a generational thing.
  • The aboriginal art is not usual because most pieces contain symbols which are traditional icons. These symbols are used for telling stories instead of writing them because the language of the people is via visuals rather than words. What’s fun is that with changing times, you can modernisation of the art.
  • The aboriginal art has different meaning for the indigenous people as these are not just beautiful creations for them. The art is a way for generations to learn because it was used as a medium for teaching via symbols.
  • Different symbols are used for teaching children and different ones for speaking to elders. Children are taught using art that is easier and less complex to understand whereas the art for elders is more nuisances.
  • Not every aboriginal art is similar because there are many aboriginal tribal groups with varying cultures, artistic styles, languages, and places of dwelling. Therefore, you will find a huge variety of aboriginal art with different colours, symbols, and meaning.
  • Did you know aboriginal artists can only paint about dreamtime stories that are part of their family lineage and was passed on by older generations? Since there are so many tribes and cultures, the stories depicted in the art should be the artist’s own.
  • Also, permission is required to paint an aboriginal dreamtime story especially the ones that contain tribal secrets or scared information. Art is very important in aboriginal tribes, which is why one cannot make it unless it was passed to them.
  • Aboriginal art was not always painted on canvas and board. This trend started about 40 years ago. Earlier the art was drawn or scratched on walls of rocks, depicted on bodies with paint, or made in sand or dirt. However, after the aboriginal art movement, the symbols were drawn on canvas and boards.
  • The dots you see in aboriginal paintings are used for hiding tribal secrets from people who are not allowed to know the important information. The dot paintings started to surface when the aboriginal people became concerned about interpretation of certain stories by other people not belonging to the tribe.
  • Among the highest prices aboriginal art, the Warlugulong by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri was sold at a whopping price of $2.4 million dollars. This artwork was bought by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in the year 2007.

Why Support Aboriginal Artists?

We at Harrison Galleries do our best to support aboriginal art creators because there are many benefits of indigenous art.

  • Aboriginal art is among the best cultural gifts to the world by Australia and it helps us share the original visual arts and craft with everyone. Aboriginal people are a huge part of the country and their art is an excellent representation of Australia’s heritage and history.
  • Aboriginal art is excellent for economy boosting as well because many art by prominent artists get sold for thousands of dollars. According to experts, the aboriginal art industry is estimated to make over $200 million dollars every year!
  • Aboriginal art is not only excellent for boosting cultural integration and the economy; it is also useful for maintenance of indigenous heritage, inter-generational education, creative achievement, and much more.
  • Indigenous people benefit by selling their arts and craft financially as well. However, many of them make a lot less than city artists which is why we do our best to support them and ensure they get the price for their art they deserve.

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