Aboriginal Art: Decoding the Forgotten

Aboriginal Art:

An article published recently, spoke about famous comedian and versatile artist, Steve Martin’s fascination with Aboriginal Art.  A commercial gallery on the Bowery showcased big paintings by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, an Aboriginal Artist in his fifties, that Martin attended.  Thus, began a love affair with the idiosyncratic native art of Australia.

Martin was by no means the first to be captivated by the minimalistic, almost confounding nature of the artwork. Aboriginal art has been known to generate curiosity in the semiotic world of art. The history associated with the subjugated culture, the translation of their particular ethos and their very guarded and carefully crafted work itself adds to the mysticism of the mystery. There are also rules that direct every art that are solely pronounced by the tribe it belongs to.

The representation may seem ambiguous or childlike, they are imbued with exquisite texture and high symbology. The symbology, the dotting technique, the cross-hatching method, colors and portrayals depend on the story of the tribe, their involvement with nature, people and the world around them. No two aboriginal paintings will ever be the same.

The artist predominantly renders the art as a representative and member of his tribe, he cannot borrow nor lend this particular style to one from another for showcase. Only an aboriginal artist is allowed to exhibit his art.

Another defining feature of the art is that it is not merely confined to paintings, its renditions are as fluid as the language, which is not scripted. The aboriginal art form gained more prominence with the appearance of the white man in the fabric of their culture, infusing the art which was highly stamped with codes that were unintelligible to the non-indigenous population of Australia