Term applied to art produced by Native Australians and also that produced by descendants of European settlers. The art of Native Australians dates back to prehistoric times. They painted on a variety of surfaces, including rock, bark and shells. The most remarkable examples are the so-called X-ray paintings in Arnhem Land
, in which hunters depicted the internal anatomy of the beasts they killed, and the wondjina
figures, which were found near water holes in the nw
. European influence on the continent dates from 1788, when the first penal colony was established. The Australian landscape attracted a significant number of foreign painters, such as John Glover (1767–1849) and Conrad Martens (1801–78); however, Australian artists still felt the need to train in Europe
. The late 19th-century Heidelberg School, based in Heidelberg
, Victoria, represented the first truly national movement in Australian art. It was led by Tom Roberts, whose impressionist-inspired landscapes influenced Australian art for many decades. In the 20th century, the Melbourne journal Angry Penguins
(1940–46) proved a seminal influence, fostering the talents of many avant-garde painters. Among these were the two most celebrated names in Australian art, Sir Sidney Nolan
and Arthur Boyd.
Arnhem Land, 37,100 sq mi (96,089 sq km), N Northern Territory, Australia, on a wide peninsula W of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The great majority of the region belongs to the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve, the largest aboriginal reservation in Australia. Kakadu National Park adjoins the reservation and draws a large number of tourists to its natural beauty and remarkable collection of aboriginal rock art. To the S lies the Beswick Aboriginal Reserve. Bauxite is mined in the area.