Aboriginal art dates back to well before the written word. In prehistoric times, different aboriginal tribes would express themselves through visual mediums, such as painting, or orally, through stories. The latter were passed down through the generations. While modern aboriginal art shares a lot with its ancient counterpart, there are also many differences. The following are some of the most significant of these differences:
Reflections on Modern Society
Aboriginal life in modern times is very different, and this is reflected in modern aboriginal art, which often deals with issues that aboriginal people face in the modern era. These include racial tensions with white Australians, along with anxieties about their disappearing cultural heritage.
Inspiration Drawn from Other Cultures
In the past, aboriginals were isolated from the cultures of other nations and regions. This is not the case today, however. It is clear that modern aboriginal artists are inspired not only by their own culture, but by those originating overseas. In this sense, modern aboriginal art is an interesting hybrid brought on by globalization.
Access to New Media
The ancient aboriginals were much more restricted when it came to the mediums available for creating art. By contrast, modern aboriginal artists have a plethora of media to choose from. Examples of this include videos, audio recordings, online blogs, and even video games.
Less Emphasis on Tribal Identity
Due to the relative isolation they faced, past artists would often create work based on references to their particular tribe. Today, however, aboriginal artists tend to convey aboriginal culture as a whole, rather than that of a single tribe or clan.
One of the advantages of modern life is that aboriginal artists can showcase their work to a much broader audience. The internet, for example, now allows it to be seen by millions of people across the world, thus allowing these artists to be recognized globally.