International Journal of Art & Design Education

Drawings of People by Australian Aboriginal Children: the Inter-mixing of Cultural Styles

Volume 17.1   1998



The general developmental changes observed in human figure drawings of modern-day young children in western societies are reviewed in the paper. Differences in style over historical time and in other societies throw doubt on the notion of a fixed and universal pattern of development. Even so, children's drawings seem to become more westernised as schooling spreads to more and more remote, rural societies. In Australia, however, the Warlpiri Aboriginal people have continued to use their traditional pictorial symbols in their paintings, sand drawings and school books; Warlpiri school-children use and develop both the indigenous and westernised styles of drawing.