Friday, March 20, 2015

lines and dots

Thought behind the thought
Have you ever seen a 'modern' painting and felt at a complete loss to understand the meaning of the lines and shapes and dots? Have you ever tried to read a foreign language in an unknown script and felt overwhelmed by the lines and dots on paper? 
You know for sure, that they mean something to someone. You know that they stand for some concept or word or idea. But till you learn the script, you are not able to unravel the mystery behind the symbols. And once you learn to read the symbols, you suddenly feel liberated, because now you are a part of their world!

About the Art
Lines and dots were used as symbols to convey deeper meaning in art, especially tribal art. They formed symbols and motifs that were unique to the community that created them. Like these paintings  by Australian aboriginal artists.

'Tingari' (Lake) by artist : George Ward Tjungurrayi. 

Tingari – Karrkurritinytja (Lake MacDonald) by artist : George Ward Tjungurrayi.

   'Water buffalo' by artist Djambu Barra Barra

  'Man finished' by  artist: Djambu Barra Barra  

As seen in all these paintings, lines and dots, apart from creating a very strong visual impact are symbolic and convey meanings and ideas in a very unique way. While there are huge differences between symbols and meanings throughout Australia, there are some symbols that seem to be almost universal throughout the Aboriginal world. The more you understand of the symbols, the more you can appreciate Aboriginal art and its meaning. 

'Ngalyod' (rainbow Serpent) by artist: Hamish Garrgarku

 "Gungara' (spiralling wind by artist Hamish Garrgarku

Although some symbols used in Aboriginal art have secret meanings - which are only there for those who have been appropriately initiated - other symbols and their meanings have become well established (like the "U" symbol to represent people, lines to represent tracks or waves, and circles representing a whole lot of things like berries, stars, kids or even waterholes, with reference to the overall picture)

'Rockhole' by artist Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

'Walking over sand hills' by artist Linda Syddick Napaltjarri

Watch Australian artist Janie Ward Nakamarra create an amazing 'dot' painting in the video clip below.

Credit and Source of information


  1. Excellent post guys!
    Starts with trust I guess. Faith, that the lines, dots mean something. Not rejecting outright what you don't understand.
    And then it unravels.

  2. ...and then you may reject it ;-)