Aboriginal Australian Art is complex and fascinating. We wanted to share some of the traditional Aboriginal symbols and iconography that you can look out for in the paintings, to help you better understand some of their meaning.
Concentric circles represent many meanings in Aboriginal Art though often they share a specific site, waterhole or meeting place.
This crescent or 'U' shape icon represents people, both man and woman and can be found in many Aboriginal paintings.
Possibly one of the most iconic of Aboriginal motifs, this one depicts people seated at a specific site, camp or meeting place.
This Aboriginal icon depicts a woman. Here you can see the woman in the middle with a coolamon and digging stick on either side.
This Aboriginal icon relates specifically to the arc and represents, in many variations, a wind break around a site, campfire, or meeting place.
This Aboriginal Icon depicts a man. Here he is accompanied by a spear and shield though variations of this would include different weapons such as a boomerang.
This Aboriginal Icon represents the budgerigar though a variation is also used to represent other birds. Often found in large numbers across the canvas.
The mighty Kangaroo is represented here in this Aboriginal icon. A variation of this includes a stroke between the footprint representing the tail.
This Aboriginal Icon represents an Emu and is often portrayed with many footprints traversing the artwork.
Running between two sites, this Aboriginal Icon is represented by the wavy lines that show running water, a crucial resource in the desert.
Long elongated lines represent sand hills in Aboriginal paintings and are often depicted surrounding a specific site or waterhole.
Straight lines between two sites in Aboriginal paintings generally represent people travelling between the two places.
Three short lines as depicted here typically represent Aboriginal body paint or markings.
Often represented in large numbers this circular motif can represent water soakages and often bush foods or seeds.
This Aboriginal icon depicts the footprints of a possum and is often found traversing the painting as it travels.