For over a thousand generations Aboriginal people made no distinction between art and craft. Art was, and still is, a way of life and as much about function as it is about beauty and form. Artistic forms continue to be used to give Aboriginal people skills, knowledge and practical tools to survive, thrive and manage the continent of Australia.
Many Dreaming narratives take the form of lengthy epics, and involve journeying, detailing the inter- and intra-species encounters that take place in the course of those travels.
A rich inventory of monstrous figures exists throughout Aboriginal Australia. The specific form that their wickedness takes depends to a considerable extent on their location.
Aboriginal kinship is an integral part of The Dreaming, as are people themselves and their land (or “country” as it’s known in Aboriginal English). One’s place in the kinship system also determines one’s rights and obligations with respect to other people, country, and artistic expression.
As they journeyed through country, across water, underground or through the sky, Dreaming Ancestors or Creator Beings provided models or templates for all human and non-human activity and interactions, social behaviour, natural development, ethics and morality.