4 Main Elements of Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal art is central to the indigenous culture. The Aboriginal people do not have a specific language. They communicate through symbols and storytelling. They have been creating art and telling stories for thousands of years. It was only in the 1970s when their culture and art became known to the world.

Western words cannot fully explain or express Aboriginal art and culture. The concept of Dreamtime represents the time when Aboriginal people believe the world was created. It also encompasses rules to live by, their connection to the earth, and the interaction with the world. Even this does not fully capture what Dreamtime means to them.

The art created by Aboriginal artists can vary drastically. The elements and features of a piece of art are dependent upon several things. Things like the specific tribe or clan have a considerable impact. Different tribes have the rights to different stories. They are not allowed to tell someone else’s story. They also use different techniques and colours.

Some of the elements that can be found in most Aboriginal art pieces are listed below.



The use of symbols is extremely important in Aboriginal culture. They communicate through symbols. Everything is represented by symbols – animals, people, emotions, etcetera. Symbolism is a huge element that can be found in most Aboriginal art, regardless of the medium.



The use of colour is another significant element found in indigenous art. Different tribes use different colours. Some only use ochre. Others use primary colours while others incorporate vibrant colours. The choice and use of colours can say a lot about the artist, history, and family.



Storytelling is a major part of Aboriginal culture. It is how they share their history with younger generations. It is how they communicate. Every piece of art tells a story. People from certain groups may only tell stories about their own families and tribes. They need permission to share or paint stories that belong to someone else or the culture as a whole.



Not anyone can make a painting and call it Aboriginal art. This art form may be part of Contemporary art, but only true Aboriginal people can create Aboriginal art. Someone who simply copies the techniques but is not a direct descendent of an Aboriginal tribe cannot claim that their art is Aboriginal. All Aboriginal art is authentic.

These are not the only elements of Aboriginal art. The art can be quite diverse. Contemporary Aboriginal artists have also started using other mediums like photography. The main thing that makes Aboriginal art is the fact that the artists are authentically part of the indigenous tribes and culture. The rest is choice and based on permission.