For thousands of years Australian Aborigines have been making art. A manifestation of the creative forces of the Dreamtime, art is also a means of expressing individual and group identity. But white Aboriginal art keeps the past alive and maintains its relevance to the present, it also responds to new circumstances. Aboriginal art cannot be divorced from the process of European colonization that began in earnest in 1788.
In this book, Howard Morphy, one of the foremost authorities in this field, surveys the great variety of Aboriginal art to reveal what it means to its makers and users and what it can tell us about the societies that produce it. He discusses the paintings (on rock, bark, human bodies and canvas), sculptures, weapons and utensils, from across Australia, bringing out common themes but also highlighting regional diversity. The text is illustrated with outstanding examples, many published here for the first time. The result is a book that reveals the richness and dynamism of the art of one of the world's most enduring cultures.