Aboriginal Art is the oldest art form in the world, It has been found on the walls of caves in Australia dating back some 30,000 years. Steeped in history, art is both culturally and spiritually significant for Aboriginal people as it tells the story of their heritage and ancestors and is used to mark their territory.
For non Aboriginal Australians, the art work is both revered and cherished and has found a place in the hearts of all Australians. Displayed in art galleries and adorning many walls across the country, Aboriginal art has become something the world now identifies as iconically Australian.
Aboriginal art encompasses a wide variety of mediums including paper, canvass, fibre, bark, glass, and ceramics. Aboriginal artists do not keep to these mediums exclusively, many traditional hunting and musical instruments such as the Boomerang and Didgeridoo are decorated by hand using traditional artistic techniques.
The most popular form of Aboriginal art is the stunning dot paintings. Each paining comprises of thousands of dots that make up a larger image usually of a landscape or animal.
This unique painting style arose in the 1970's when the Papunya Tula artists took the traditions of spiritual ceremonies and put them onto a canvas. These traditions would see Aboriginal people draw intricate patterns in soil and sand and then rub them away when the ceremony was complete. Stemming from the ceremonial traditions, each shape in a dot painting has its very own meaning.
However, sometimes only members of the artist's particular tribe will be able to decipher the meaning of the painting as symbols mean different things to different tribes. Today the dot painting is one of the most sought after pieces of Aboriginal art.
Referred to locals as the Didge, the Didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed by Aboriginals that produces a haunting sound. Made out of wood, great pride is taken when hand decorating the Didgeridoo with symbols and patterns that hold significant cultural and spiritual meaning.
The instrument was originally designed to be played during traditional Aboriginal ceremonies and for recreation, but today many people around the world enjoy listening to the music of the Didgeridoo.
While it takes plenty of practice and patience to learn how to play the instrument, a traditionally decorated Didgeridoo makes for an excellent keepsake to remember your trip to Port Douglas.
Like the Didgeridoo, the Boomerang is an item that has been used by Aboriginals for thousands of years. Carved from wood, the Boomerang's original uses range from hunting instrument, weapon, and for play.
The best part about the Boomerang is that when it is thrown correctly, it will come right back to you. This may take a little time to perfect, but when you have mastered the art you will be in for hours of fun. Boomerangs come in all sizes but all are hand decorated with intricate patterns and designs.
While you are in Port Douglas make sure you pop into at least one of the many Aboriginal art stores. You will be amazed at the detail that goes into each and every piece of work.
There are often traditional artists on site that can give you more information on their work, tribe, and way of life. Whether you plan on adding a piece of Aboriginal art work to your collection or if you just plan on perusing the stores, you will surely be entranced by the twists and turns of the dot paintings and the intricacies of each piece of stunning art work.
Should you wish to be part of a tour group to visit ancient rock art paintings and spend time with an Aboriginal guide or tribe there are a number of hotel, motel accommodation packages which may combine a fly/drive itinerary so you can immerse yourself fully in the aboriginal culture but still enjoy the comforts of a hotel bed and resort style service whilst in the tropics.