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June 27, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

ABORIGINAL ART by Wally Caruana (Thames & Hudson: $12.95; 216 pp., paperback original). The Aborigines of Australia maintain the oldest continuous culture on the planet, dating back at least 50,000 years. The semi-abstract images in this concise survey display an eerie beauty that is alternately fascinating, inspiring and disturbing. Caruana observes, "Unlike prose, the interpretation of Aboriginal designs and images is not a one-on-one equivalence. Rather, like poetry with all its inherent complexities, multiple references and intended ambiguities, each symbol or icon within a work may encapsulate a variety of meanings."

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