It has been suggested that the first Aboriginal dot art emerged into western society in the 1970’s. The chances of people outside of Aboriginal communities seeing dot painting then was considered extremely rare. Yet within such a short period of time, this style, that’s widely recognisable as Aboriginal art, has begun to diversify within communities.
Styles have slowly merged, and modern forms of dot painting are increasingly changing. So, what exactly is dot art and how has it changed over the years?
What is dot art?
Dot art is a style of painting created by the dotting of paint, rather than brush strokes. The dots are traditionally applied with a stick, but various instruments can be used to create this form of art. This technique crafts an image that seems to leap off the page and come to life, forming an optical illusion.
Artists have adapted their own signature styles, ranging from the traditional form of individual dots through to connecting dots for a dabbed effect. Yet the same principles of dot art apply.
How has dot art changed?
The communities of the central desert really shifted dot art into the limelight in terms of international exposure, making it recognisable across the globe. However, the dot paint technique has slowly changed, and each Aboriginal community have adapted their styles in different ways.
Some artists retain their traditional techniques with others, using larger brush strokes, are blurring the line between styles. Others use multiple dotting, creating a layered[Tv1] and a dense contrast in colours. So, what’s influencing this change?
It has a lot to do with differing regions, new emerging artists and how innovative new Aboriginal artists are. Experimenting with neat traditional dots to dramatic and windswept strokes allows artists to extend their creativity and make a name for themselves within the industry.
Making way for new dot artists
Dot art is an important part of expression for Aboriginal communities. Traditionally the colours of dot art were obtained by the land and so it was reflected in the art, however now artworks can range from earthy tones to bright vibrant colours. So, this is an exciting time for Aboriginal art with passionate creatives making their mark.
If you would like to learn more about the techniques used in Aboriginal art, you can contact our friendly staff at Mbantua Gallery. Otherwise, feel free to browse our range of available artwork on our website.