Art has long been an integral part of Aboriginal life. Aboriginal people have recorded their lives and dreaming stories in rock art, bark paintings, wood carvings and sand drawings.
Art continues to be an important expression of belief, and a sacred representation of the creation and the workings of the universe.
Aboriginal art is often grouped into personal, social, and sacred or ritual art. Artists traditionally use natural earth pigments of red iron ochre, yellow ochre, charcoal and white clay. Mixed with water or animal oils, these adhere to the surface of painted objects.
The mediums and methods used by Aboriginal artists today are as diverse as the ideas, subjects and geographic locations that influence and inhabit an artist's work.
Aboriginal art is highly prized by international collectors for its beauty, and some pieces sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Indigenous art features prominently in the Australian cultural scene. You'll find beautiful works on display in major public art galleries − where you can admire but not buy them. Artworks are also displayed and sold from commercial galleries, dedicated gallery collections and co-operatives.
Aboriginal people have painted images on rocks of their dreaming stories, their life and law. Rock art is sometimes found in natural shelters, protected from the weather by an overhang. Some Aboriginal rock art in Victoria is thought to be at least 5,000 years old.
Rock paintings feature symbols and tracks, human figures, animals, objects and complex figurative designs. Many paintings have religious or sacred significance and are said to be images of spirit ancestors. Rock art sites continue to play an important part in Victoria's living Aboriginal culture and are valued by the wider community.