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Types of Aboriginal Art Styles

Aboriginal art is the oldest and most iconic art in the world. Dreamtime is one of the largest inspirations and most recognised within Aboriginal art. The Dreamtime was used as a learning tool for Aboriginal people — understanding their moral laws, beliefs, philosophies and politics and ceremonies through legends, myths, magic, dance, painting and song. Dreamtime since then has been passed down to generations, through storytelling. Aboriginal art incorporates different styles and traditional languages — making each piece truly special, with such rich meaning. Contemporary Aboriginal art can be easily distinguished from the community where it was produced, i.e: ‘Dot painting’ is traditional to the Central and Western desert.

Here are some of the most popular Aboriginal Art styles to learn more about:

X-Ray Art

Prevalent in Northern Australia, Aboriginal ‘x-ray’ art depicts local animals and stories — the style displays bone structures and internal organs of creatures.

Cross Hatching

‘Rarrk’ paintings are prevalent in Northern Australia. The style is made up of fine-line cross-hatching and represents sea creatures and reptiles.

Dot Painting

Traditionally found in Central Australia — Dot painting consists of fine dot work made with thin sticks. This style is commonly identified as Aboriginal Art to the average eye.


Wandjinas are only found in the Kimberley region. This wonderful art style depicts a human with large eyes and no mouth. Sometimes painted with headdresses, indicating different types of storms.


Ochre is a painting material used by Aboriginal people. Originating from Arnhem Land and east Kimberley — it is a natural hard clay found in a myriad of colours i.e: red, pink, yellow, white and sometimes blue.

To learn more about implementing Aboriginal Culture and Education into your workplace or classroom — contact our team on (02) 4730 0400 or


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