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Aboriginal Art

Focus on Indigenous Works

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Shopping for Aboriginal art in Sydney

Shopping for Aboriginal art in Sydney

Courtesy Tourism New South Wales

Sydney's cosmopolitan population of more than 4 million has always been predominantly white since Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove in 1788 to found the first permanent white settlement in Australia in the area now known as The Rocks.

So for many years, in the inevitable flowering of the arts, particularly in painting, the focus had been on the work of European and white Australian painters.

Aboriginal spirituality

In more recent years, with a new focus on indigenous Australia, the life, Aboriginal art and culture have come to the fore.

This is no more evident today than in the amazing array of Aboriginal art in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Gallery, Yiribana, in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

At the Australian Museum, at the corner of Park and College Sts along the eastern side of Hyde Park, have a look at the Aboriginal Heritage Unit, and explore Aboriginal art and Aboriginal concepts of spirituality, cultural heritage, family, land and issues of social justice.

Traditional art

In an Australian population of 19 million, the Aborigines constitute but 1.5 per cent, and many still associate these native Australians simply with the boomerang, waddy (war club), throwing stick (a device for throwing spears), didgeridoo (a musical instrument made of hollowed-out wood) and rock paintings.

But interest in traditiional native art has brought to the fore the abstract geometrical patterns, representational design and bold use of colors that have characterised traditional native art, particularly on bark, and which have evolved into today's more contemporary works.

A number of Sydney galleries specialise in traditional native art and there are the Aboriginal Art Centres in the Rocks area, in Paddington and at the Sydney Opera House in Bennelong Point.

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