Aboriginal culture

Rock painting

Rock painting and rock carving can be divided into two main categories : Figurative style, which means that it is very easy to identify the elements painted or carved on the rock. You can admire extraordinary paintings in the Northern Territory, especially in the Kimberley and Kakadu regions.

In non-figurative style, which is very common in Central Australia,  it is far more difficult to recognize the abstract figures or geometric patterns.

The oldest paintings were painted over 40,000 years ago! Artists mainly used pigments they found in their natural environment.


The first didgeridoo appeared more than 1,500 years ago. It is a wind instrument, often described as a natural wooden trumpet. It is often cylindrical. In some parts of Australia, this musical instrument is called Yidaki or Mandapul.

It is made of bamboo or eucalyptus wood. Most of the instruments are painted or decorated.

The musician’s lips vibrate against the wax mouthpiece of their instrument.

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Painting is an important feature of Aboriginal culture, on supports such as leaves, sand, rock, wood and even bodies. The pigments they use is mainly ochre, clay, wood ash and animal blood.

Each region and each tribe has a specific technique and topics and the significance of their symbols may change dramatically from other tribes’, even though they may look very similar.

That said, a lot of paintings have a common aerial perspective and refer to a ‘dreamtime story’.

In contemporary Aboriginal art, dotted motifs are very frequent.

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