Aboriginal Rock Art Analysis Essay

There are approximately 500 various aboriginal people in Australia with their unique languages and separated territories whose existence is prior to European colonization. Undoubtedly the culture and identity has profound influence on contemporary Australia. They keep trying to establish a crucial impression to nowadays people via paintings, songs, dance and movies. To begin with, aboriginal people have their own artistic expression. Aboriginal paintings are the oldest unbroken tradition of art which is well known to art-lovers worldwide like rock paintings and dot paintings.

The oldest firmly dated rock is art painting is a charcoal drawing found south-western Arnhem Land in the northern territory. “Rock paintings appear on caves in the Kimberley region of Western Australia known as Bradshaws. They are named after the European, Joseph Bradshaw, who first reported them in 1891”. (Aboriginal Paintings, 2014). Dot painting has kinds of colors like brown (representing the soil), yellow (the sun), white(sky and the cloud) and red( desert sand). However, rock art is disappearing.

In the past, “During their spiritual cycle Aboriginal people periodically re-grooved their rock engravings which ensured that they survived the thousands of years this rock art is known to be old but today re-grooving is very rare since in many cases the traditional owners of the rock engravings have passed away and no-one has the authority to renew them(Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015). The main factors are pollution, intentional destruction, theft and insufficient protection.

In view of Aboriginal rock art is exposed to the environment, the acceleration of the increasing number of cars can cause the decrease of groove depth. As an example, “While early explorers in the 1880s measured Indigenous rock engravings to be around one inch (25. 4 mm) deep, this figure dropped to 16mm in the 1950s, 8 to 10mm in the 1990s and around 5mm in 2008” (Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015). In traditional times it was common for aboriginal people to repair art work but National Parks today don’t allow them to do this.

Changes in the climate like carbon dioxide levels, humidity and temperature can affect rock art as well due to the growth of micro organism and algae that can cause irreparable damage. “Aboriginal sites are allowed to be ‘disturbed or destroyed by state governments. Between 2005 and 2009 the NSW government approved 541 permits to destroy or disturb Aboriginal heritage sites” (Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015).

Luckily, “When the National Parks and Wildlife Act was enacted in 2001, last-minute lobbying by mining and agriculture interests prevented amendments that would have created a stricter protection regime for Aboriginal sites” (Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015). Government tried to protect art work as much as possible. Crude graffiti scratched into rocks, vandals chiselling away the rock destroy them severely. Other sites which were damaged by vandals include Red Hand Cave in the Blue Mountains, rock art at Mutitjulu waterhole at Uluru (Ayers Rock), and Blackfellows Hands On the Burrup Peninsula in Western Australia.

Theft is also an inevitable problem. For instance, “vandals removed at least one rock face with power tools from the Burrup Peninsula, Australia’s largest and oldest rock art site The Koori Mail reported in April 2009 about reports that Aboriginal artifacts were sold on eBay” (Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015). “In 2001 the NSW government moved to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act to make it an offence to disturb Aboriginal artifacts or sites.

The law wasn’t enacted due to “certain lobby groups” intervening but eventually the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 passed through the NSW government”(Why Australia’s Aboriginal rock art will disappear, 2015). This is definitely working and a person or company is responsible for the damages caused. As a matter of fact, dot paintings can be painted on anything and at aboriginal times they were mostly being painted on rocks and in caves. The majority of paintings are about animals, lakes and dreamtime.

Artist’s religion and beliefs are illustrated on rocks and caves by specific stories and legends. On modern society, dot paintings are basically presented by two major instruments: bamboo satay sticks and ink bottles. The larger flat end of bamboo satay sticks are used for single application of dots but the sharp pointier end is for creating fine dots. In order to create superimposed dotting, artists can take a bunch of satay sticks, dip the pointy ends into the paint and then transfer it onto the canvas in quick successions of dotting.

Moreover, stone arrangement in Australia are from the 50m-diameter circles of Victoria, with 1m-high stones embedded in the ground and smaller stone arrangements could be found throughout Australia, such as those near Yirrkala which are accurate images of the praus used by Macassan Trepang fishermen and spear throwers. Symbols of Aboriginal modern art movement consist of the same meaning across regions although the meanings of the symbols vary due to the context of paintings.

Depending upon the tribe of which the artist is a murnanember, symbols such as tree, hill, digging hole, waterhole, or spring can have different meanings. Usage of the symbol can be clarified by color, such as sun being depicted in yellow. Many paintings are shown from an aerial perspective for example those presented dreamtime story. The narrative follows the lie of the land, as created by ancestral beings in their journey or during creation. The rendition of nowadays can be deemed as a reinterpretation of ceremonies, songs, rock art and body art.

Most western people think that their paintings are aspects of minimalism, abstraction of expressionism however it is a little bit harder to understand the spiritual aspects. Specifically, many aboriginal paintings have several layers to represent different meanings. “The outer layers might be appreciated by people who recognize them as animals, hunting guides or creation stories,” explains Keith Munro, an Aboriginal art curator [3]. “Then there might be a significance that only the initiated can appreciate, then a final layer that only can be understood by the artists themselves, or senior law-men. (Understanding aboriginal paintings, 2015).

Aboriginal Contemporary dance is about using the body’s natural lines and energy to show new movements that have a more obvious range and fluidity than traditional dance. The origins of contemporary dance in In Australia were from modern dance, taught by the Australian Dance Theatre by Elizabeth Cameron Dalman from 1965-75. Specifically, “contemporary dance is seen as less prescriptive in its structure than classical or even modern dance. It was developed as a reaction against the more rigid techniques of ballet.

However, contemporary dance shares similar characteristics with the first wave of ballet in Australia. Both draw on collaborations with contemporary musicians, visual artists and photographers with the intention of creating a new and invigorating medium”. (in-text) The movement originated by contemporary dance technique means that there is a good chance for beginners and experienced dancers to push new boundaries of body movement. It started in Australia in the mid-1970s with artists like Carole Johnson, who was responsible for teaching regular contemporary dance classes in Sydney in 1974.

Then in the mid-1980s, Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard combined the visual arts with dance without reference to actual dance. More than 25 Australian contemporary dance companies were established since the mid-1970s. In 2010 there are at least 15 contemporary dance groups in Australia and the list of contemporary dancers is still increasing. Meryl Tankard is one of Australia’s most famous contemporary dancers whose career began as an Australian Ballet dancer. She decided to leave the company and to join Pina Bausch’s ensemble the Tanztheater Wuppertal after three year.

Tankard havs danced with the company as a principal soloist for almost ten years. In 1986 she designed and directed Travelling Light and in 1988 she created her eveninglength solo work Two Feet which was based on the life of Olga Spessivtzeva who toured Australia in 1934, collaborating with photographer and visual artist Regis Lansac. Indigenous film basically describes Indigenous people, stories and legends. The specifics of Indigenous issues and people give a basic understanding of a characteristic insight of relationship with human and heritage.

It is also an expression for Indigenous experience and Indigenous culture. “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, issues and stories have often been stereotyped and marginalized in Australian society. Australia’s film history paints a similar picture. However, there are films that portray Indigenous people as self conscious and aware and not as a mysterious or dangerous other’. The portrayals of Indigenous issues go hand in hand with real world measures to achieve reconciliation. (in text referencing).

The impression of Indigenous people has enhanced over the past hundred years which consists of intricate and various portrayals of both issues and characters. The increasing number of Indigenous people working behind the scenes in film is a significant betterment. “Australian film will keep the unfinished business of reconciliation, reflecting, informing about and commenting upon Australian society and Indigenous issues and experience”. (in text reference).

Australian Indigenous music is a variety of distinctive traditional music styles played by Indigenous Australian peoples and range of contemporary musical styles of and fusion with European traditions performed by Indigenous artists. Music is the combination of social, cultural and ceremonial observances over through the millennia of their individual and collective histories. The traditional forms need the application of musical instrumentation that is exclusive to particular regions or Indigenous Australian groups. The culture of the Torres Strait Islanders is connected to New Guinea and their music is related as well.

Music is a significant part of Indigenous Australians’ cultural maintenance identity. In terms of the history, “ever since the 18th-century European colonization of Australia began Indigenous Australian musicians and performers have adopted and interpreted many of the imported Western musical styles, often informed by and in combination with traditional instruments and sensibilities”. (in text). Indigenous music can be categorized as Didgeridoo, Torres Strait Islands and Christine Anu, Indigenous rock and folk and Indigenous roots music