The Oldest Ongoing Tradition of Art in the World
Australian Indigenous art is the oldest ongoing tradition of art in the world. Initial forms of artistic Aboriginal expression were rock carvings, body painting and ground designs, which date back more than 30,000 years. The quality and variety of Australian Indigenous art produced today reflects the richness and diversity of Indifenous culture and distinct differences between tribes, languages, dialects and geographic landscapes. Art has always been an important of Aboriginal life, connection past and present, the people and the land, and the supernatural and reality.
More often than not, Australia’s Indigenous art is described as the oldest surviving art tradition in the world, yet categorizing the history of its production as art
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Also, paintings on rocks became a record of past lives that affect the present while the act of painting is a way of making things belong to oneself. We’ll develop the rock technique in depth later. Ironically, the additive culture of Aboriginal culture parallels the additive nature of European art : both worlds are accepting of other ideas as long as they fit in with their scheme of things. The power of European culture threatened at first to destroy the Aborigines, as we can see on different pieces of art.
The relationship between Aborigines and Europeans is not only represented through paintings. In fact, the installation of 200 hollow-log coffins, “The Aboriginal memorial”, by Paddy Dhatangu, David Malangi, George Milpurrurru and other artists, in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, represents a movement of place. “To Aboriginal people art is linked to land, history and identity, and in journeying to other places it carries connotations with it”. The blurial poles reflect the geographical relationships between the clans that made them, on either side of the forested banks of the Blyth (Arhnem Land). The forest of poles alludes to “the living people and cultures of Arnhem Land as well as the deaths of many Aboriginal people following European colonization”.
According to Myers in Truth Beauty and Pintupi Paintings,