Aboriginal art is a gift to all living beings. As a timeless expression of man´s relationship to everything that exists around him or her, Aboriginal art is, above all, a teaching and learning experience. The Aboriginal people regard everything within the universe with reverence and respect. There is a purpose to everything that exists and happens on the earth. Teaching is done through narratives known as the “Dreaming” or “Dreamtime Stories”. The Aboriginal Dreamtime story is also expressed in different ways including body painting, dancing, bark painting and rock etchings and have been passed on from one generation to the next.
Dreamtime stories describe all that took place from the beginning of creation and the emergence of ancestor spirits. According to Aboriginal lore, in the beginning the land was barren. Then the totemic ancestors, who were supernatural beings, swooped upon the earth and created the landscape – rivers, mountains, valleys, oceans – they made people, plants and animals. They also created the atmosphere and the elements as well as the sun, moon and the cosmos. When the ancestors became weary, they disappeared to whence they came or, in some cases, became animals or structures such as mountains, rocks or rivers. These landscape features then become sacred places.
For Aboriginals, the “Dreaming” is a spiritual experience that recounts all that was, is and will be. Protocol around customs, family relationships, laws and cultural practices are preserved thanks to this oral tradition Many Dreamtime stories have become popular reading for young Australians. Stories such as Tiddalick the Frog and Min-na-wee (Why the Crocodile Rolls) not only teach history as seen through the eyes of the Aboriginal people, they also enable children to learn important moral values.
Each Aboriginal tribe has its own version of “Dreaming” which, in today´s world, would be regarded as their own intellectual property. If an artist wants to borrow from the “Dreaming” of another tribe, they first need to ask for permission from the elders or gatekeepers of that tribe. In recent times, there has been a renewal of interest and appreciation in Aboriginal art from people of all walks of life and culture. Indigenous artists are producing artwork of very high quality that show particular reverence to their totemic beliefs. The patterns are very distinctive and the colours - white, yellow and red from ochre and the black from charcoal, are easily recognisable . Since the 1970's, the use of dots has become very popular and are used to cover up the sacred stories from the eyes of Westerners.
Aboriginal artwork is of exceptional and unique beauty. With its representation of lessons and stories that have evolved over millions of years, Aboriginal artwork is truly timeless and a means of connection to a spiritual past. Imagine how many conversations begin over the giving of a piece of Aboriginal art. Where does it come from? From which tribe? What is its inner meaning? What better gift could one receive! Here are some of our most popular Aboriginal gifts that are timeless and will be cherished forever.
I don’t think I have ever thrown away a good quality water bottle. Have you? I might have lost one but never thrown one away. These beautiful bottles are double-walled, insulated and made of stainless steel. They are BPA free and just gorgeous! The designs are by our Aboriginal artist, Kathleen Buzzacott. Her artwork reflects the timelessness of her culture and her strong sense of identity. Kathleen was raised by her family in a remote Aboriginal community in Central Australia. Living in an environment free of modern technology provided inspiration for her designs. Treasured family times were spent out bush on hunting trips, searching for bush tucker, seeking out desert waterholes and playing with desert creatures. Kathleen still lives in the bush with her husband and their two sons, on her husband´s maternal land west of Alice Springs. $34.95
If you are trying to bring a smile to someone’s face, it is guaranteed when you light one of these babies up! It’s a money-back guaranteed smile. The 11cm polymer clay/glass candle holders are hand-made and for every one you buy, a portion of the cost goes back to the artist and their community. $29.95
Who doesn’t need a beautiful and timeless mug? I think if a receiver knows that by receiving the gift they are also giving back, they would be feeling extra special – wouldn't you? This design is inspired by the spirit of Kinship. The artist, Melanie Hava, was raised in the outback where she would often see emus travelling through the long grasses. Occasionally, she would observe two males joining forces to protect their chicks. This banding together in kinship to feed and protect their mob echoes the way aboriginals once lived. This mug is made from fine bone china, holds 350ml and comes beautifully gift boxes. $29.95
Koh Living is a member of the Indigenous Art Code, which guarantees our commitment to ethical trading in indigenous art. View more here Koh x