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Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art Early Bark Paintings and Sculpture - pre 1980

Rich visual imagery has existed in the Arnhem Land region for tens of thousands of years. Most prominent are the paintings on the rock surfaces in the magnificent escarpment country in western Arnhem Land. Other forms include body painting for ceremonies with intricate and significant clan designs associated with the Dreaming, stories of the Ancestors painted on bark, and ritual objects elaborately decorated with coloured ochres, fibre, hair string and feathers.

The sculptured carvings from this region are often depictions of the Ancestors in either human or animal form. The bark painting tradition features both figurative and abstract imagery, including X-ray designs and rarrk or crosshatching.