There is no written language in Indigenous Australian culture. Instead, they communicate through oral storytelling and symbols. You may have also heard these symbols referred to as iconography. Communicating through symbols means that artworks are an integral part of Aboriginal culture and a primary method for passing their heritage down through generations. These symbols can be used in their artworks, their body paint and are often seen during sacred rituals and ceremonies.
While the combinations of lines, dots and other markings can appear random to the untrained eye; they are in fact carefully placed in order to tell a story. These stories are typically part of the Dreamtime culture. Understanding these symbols is the key to revealing the intricate stories that exist within traditional Aboriginal art. Browse our complete collection of Indigenous artworks online to see the diverse use of symbols from our many talented Aboriginal artists.
Similar to the slang terms and colloquialisms of a language, Aboriginal art symbols can take many forms. Depending on the region and history of the artist; their symbols may look different to how you’ve seen them before. Mbantua Gallery have been working closely with artists in the Utopia region for many years, and some other areas across Central Australia. We have come to learn much about their art style as well as their rich and vibrant culture; which we aim to share with our customers through their artworks.
Commonly used icons in traditional Aboriginal art may include;
These can be depicted in many ways and the best person to ask about their meaning are the artist themselves.
The mission of Mbantua Gallery is to promote Aboriginal art, support Indigenous cultures and to learn as much as possible about the wonderful works being produced in Central Australia. We understand that authenticity is important for those who choose to purchase traditional Aboriginal art, which is why we include an authenticity certificate. We also supply, where possible, a profile of the individual artist and some details on the story of the artwork – including deciphering the Aboriginal art symbols used.
To learn more about our artworks, artists or the gallery itself; contact our team. Call us on +61 8 8952 5571 or submit an enquiry online.