A continuing form of artistic expression
Paintings on bark were originally executed on the walls and ceilings of bark shelters. These were made on traditional hunting and fishing grounds where no rock shelters were available. Paintings could depict subjects such as game animals, bush foods or ancestral figures, and were an important tool in the education of children.
Bark is peeled from the stringybark tree (Eucalyptus tetradonta) in the wetter half of the year, when it comes away easily. It is then heated on a fire to make it pliable, before being weighted down on a flat surface to dry.
The artists’ fine rarrk (hatching) is always painted with manyilk, a traditional brush made from sedge.
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