What is a Rarrk painting?

Rarrk or crosshatching is a style of painting which is from a particular area of north eastern Northern Territory.

It covers a very large area and very few people live in the region mostly in about six small communities.

This area is called Arnhem Land.

For this group of Aboriginal Australians all things from the water both fresh and saltwater are important and part of their daily lives.

These paintings are paintings usually done on dried and cured bark or other modern art materials.

It is a style of line painting done originally with grass but now is done with brushes.

It is also called crosshatching because the technique requires the application of many parallel lines.

The more advanced technique looks as if the applications of lines have been woven into the painting.

Originally the artists only used Ochre for the paint material and some artist still do however for painting on canvas, acrylic paints are being used so these paintings should last a very long time if cared for.

Another style which is utilized with this is called the X-Ray style which often is a part of the painting which shows part of the internal organs of the birds, fish, or animals being painted.

This style a sub part of rarrk is also done only in this region of Australia. It may show some or most of the organs of spirits, animals, birds, fish or crocodiles.

This style of painting is one of the oldest of the painting styles of the Aboriginal people and one of the most sought after.

Really good artists in this style are far and few between.

A typical large painting will take the artist the best part of a year to do.

If a major work by the artist it may be the only painting he/she may paint for the year.