Indigenous Australian artwork is a unique and varied form of visual expression that has been passed down and maintained by generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since ancient times. This expression of culture and identity is highly respected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is expressed through a range of art forms, such as paintings, drawings, sculptures and textile art. The artwork is often symbolic and may depict animals and creatures found in the land, stories and events from long ago and cultural values.

When most people think of Indigenous Australian artwork, the iconic aboriginal dot painting may come to mind. However, Indigenous Australian artwork is much more than just dot paintings – it is a diverse art form that celebrates the traditions, customs and beliefs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and has a unique style that conveys rich stories and narratives.

Indigenous Australian artwork is a form of art that has been growing and evolving for centuries, of which the roots go back to at least 65,000 years ago. It includes a variety of unique visual arts such as painting, engraving and related practices that use styles and patterns that are traditional to Aboriginal Australian culture. What sets native Australian artwork and culture apart from other art forms is its strong storytelling elements and deep spiritual connection to the land.

In Australia, Indigenous artwork has been in practice for thousands of years. This artwork is made using traditional tools and techniques such as rock tools, earthy materials, and eucalyptus leaves. It provides a rich source of ancient stories, teachings, and cultural practices that still resonate with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. Indigenous Australian artwork is unique in its ethical and spiritual significance. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use art to tell stories, preserve important knowledge and reflect their connection to the land. Art also plays an important role in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, helping to connect individuals and communities with their culture, identity, sense of belonging and connection to the land.

Indigenous artwork is typically composed of natural elements and areas where the creation is made are chosen for their spiritual significance. The creation of Indigenous Australian artwork is a shared process, with artists drawing upon the skills and stories of their ancestors. Traditional art forms often draw from ancient stories of ‘The Dreaming’ and employ the use of symbols and recurring images. Dreaming stories and dreamtime tales are embedded in the creation, providing insight into the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. During this creative process, artists are encouraged to acquire knowledge from the land and to become knowledgeable in the tools and technologies of various art forms.

Indigenous Australian artists use various materials and techniques to create works of art and sources of inspiration taken from their close bond with the land. An art piece created by an Indigenous artist will often contain important elements that symbolise stories, virtues, and cultural relationships. Paintings often feature earthy tones, repeating lines and patterns, concentric circles and U shapes, intricately crafted X-ray designs, and the iconic kangaroo and snake forms. Engraving, one of the oldest art forms practised by Indigenous Australians, makes up for some of the oldest and most intricate art pieces being created in the world today.

The uniqueness of Indigenous artwork from other artistic expressions is seen in its multiple meanings. The artwork is often composed of symbols that can communicate a story, a message, or a song, and most Indigenous artists use code and imagery to communicate their message. The creation is often bright and can use both abstract and figurative elements, making it stand out among artworks across the world.