Australia's Living Heritage, Arts of the Dreaming
Jennifer Isaacs, JB Books
I read this picture book/essay while on vacation in Australia. It describes Aboriginal art from baskets to rock carvings to bark painting to body painting to decorated weapons to sculpture.
"All Aboriginal art is symbolic; much of it is geometric of non-figurative." In fact, it's quite a surprise that the art of the oldest continuous culture in the world (40,000 - 60,000 years old) expresses itself in a form that could be mistaken for "modern" abstract art. Lots of circlues and dots and wavy lines, generally recounting one's personal creation myth and ancestor stories.
Western eyes often miss the frame of Aboriginal art, for it often incorporates found objects from nature. A pile of rocks two blocks down the road from a painted boulder may represent the eggs of an emu.
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