Indigenous culture goes back over 60,000 years — it's the oldest continuously-surviving society on Earth — and art is an important way our Aboriginal communities hand down our ancient cultural knowledge. From making trailblazing dot painting to complex bark creation, our artists give an extraordinary introduction to the lively field of Indigenous art.
Indigenous Artists who Inspired our Community
It is often considered that no Indigenous artist has been as compelling as Albert Namatjira, an Arrernte man from the MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia. He painted Western-style watercolor paintings of otherworldly outback scenes, winning critical acclaim and national fame. The contemporary artist and his significant other, Rubina, even became the first Aboriginal individuals to be granted Australian citizenship in 1957, 10 years before a long-overdue referendum allowed each Indigenous individual that right.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Amazingly, this Anmatyerre elder didn't start to paint until after her 80th birthday celebration. However she didn't waste time once she started to create. Emily Kame Kngwarrey produced in excess of 8,000 artworks over her fleeting eight-year profession — one painting for every day — and wound up as one of Australia's most prolific and prominent Indigenous artists, winning global acknowledgment for her contemporary pieces.
One of an enormous gathering of gifted artists from the Utopia Aboriginal homeland north of Alice Springs, this talented Anmatyerre woman has been depicted as one Australia's most 'collectable' Indigenous artists. Her signature moved toward paintings of bush medicine leaves — enormous abstract works made up of vigorous curves swirling around the canvas — after her piece 'Leaves' secured the Art Gallery of New South Wales' lofty Wynne Prize in 1999.
Aboriginal Paintings And Dot Painting
Dorothy Napangardi was a member of Possum Tjapaltjarri's Papunya School in the mid 1970s, and it wasn't long before her works started to be displayed throughout Australia, Europe and North America. Napangardi's linear paintings focus on the ‘Dreaming' of her Warlpiri people, weaving together dotted lines to follow the ancestral tracks of Indigenous community across the land.
A Kunwinjku man from West Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory John Mawurndjul is one of Australia's pre-famous bark painters, with his works shown everywhere from Germany and Russia to Japan and the United States. Mawurndjul was educated in rarrk painting — a painting method that uses infill and cross-hatching to portray conventional 'Dreaming' stories and themes in complicated detail.
As an elder of her community, Naata Nungurrayi is one of few individuals who have authorisation to paint sacred women’s sites and ceremonies from the Kintore and Kiwirrkurra district, making her one of the leaders of Western Australia's Kintore women’s artist movement. Nungurrayi is from a well known family of artists, which includes sister Nancy Ross Nungurrayi, brother George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi and son Kenny Williams Tjampitjinpa.
In the wake of having tremendous accomplishment in the fashion business in the 1980s, when she became one of the first Australian designers who was invited to show her work in Paris, this Bundjalung women transitioned into painting. Bancroft set up the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in 1987, helping numerous Indigenous artists seek a career that emulates her own over the past decades.
A member of the Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman and Gurang communities, Richard Bell is a thoroughly modern Aboriginal artist, working with video, painting, installation and content to handle the discussions and issues concerning Indigenous people in the 21st century. In 2003, this hard-edged artist and political activist also established a Brisbane-based Indigenous art collective.
Jorna is perhaps the most radical of all these artists and she is presumably one of the best dot painters around. She's from the Warakurna way in the Western Desert. Her uncle is the celebrated Tommy Watson. Some of her initial paintings mirror his influence in the way they are built. However she has developed her own painting style over time.
standard and the best part is it doesn't resemble some other painting you've seen. It's not derivative, it's one of a kind, and it's inspirational.