What do dots represent in Aboriginal art?

Did you know in Aboriginal art the dots often have symbolic meanings and serve various purposes?

I’m sure more than you may imagine, so let’s take a look at the deeper meaning behind dots in Aboriginal art:

Related: What do hands represent in Aboriginal art?

A Connection & Bond to Australia

Dots can represent specific locations, such as waterholes, rivers, mountains, or sacred sites, depicting the artist’s connection to their ancestral lands.

Mapping & Navigation

Dots can be used to create maps, illustrating paths, routes, and significant landmarks within the landscape.

These maps may also contain hidden or sacred knowledge, unbeknownst to you as the viewer.


Dots can convey stories, myths, and Dreamtime narratives.

Each dot may represent a specific element or event within a story, forming a visual narrative for those familiar with the cultural context, but often lost on many.

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Ancestral Tracks

Dots can symbolise ancestral tracks, representing the paths and journeys taken by ancestral beings during the Dreamtime.

These tracks can connect different locations and may carry spiritual significance.

Ceremony & Ritual

Dots can be associated with ceremonial body painting and designs.

They may also represent spiritual energy, protection, or the presence of ancestral beings during rituals and ceremonies.

Concealing Sacred Information

Dots may be used to conceal sacred or sensitive information within an artwork, which may have significant meaning to the artist or their heritage.

The practice of concealing sacred information ensures only those with the appropriate cultural knowledge will fully understand the deeper meanings hidden within the artwork.

It’s worth keeping in mind the specific meanings of dots in Aboriginal art may vary between different Aboriginal cultures and artists.

The interpretation of dot patterns often relies on an understanding of the artist’s cultural background, Dreamtime stories, and personal symbolism.

If you have purchased Aboriginal artwork, or simply admire it in a local gallery, then now you can appreciate the real depth and meaning to these wondrous artistic masterpieces!

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