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Japingka Aboriginal Art

Artists

Some artists take your breathe away. After thirty years in the industry we still feel that thrill of discovery. Here are the people we are proud to represent.

Artworks

Can we help you? View curated collections including price range, style and colour. Purchase with confidence, all artworks purchased online come with a 100% money back guarantee for 21 days.

Sale Art

It's fun to find a bargain. This is why we enjoy offering you a little extra excitement. For a limited time these works are available at a special sale price. 

Ethics & Authenticity

Japingka Aboriginal Art has been associated with Aboriginal art through its Directors for over thirty years.  We are committed to fair and ethical trading in all our dealings with Aboriginal art and artists.

Japingka Aboriginal Art is a foundation member of both Aboriginal Art Association of Australia the national body for Aboriginal art organisations and businesses, and of Indigenous Art Code, the Federal Government initiative to establish best practice for quality and ethical standards in the industry.

Exhibitions

Our Gallery at 47 High St, Fremantle is open weekdays 10-5:30 and weekends 12-5. 
Please come and visit to view our current exhibitions, or view them online.

Gallery 1

Land and Sky - Warlpiri Artists

Generations of Warlpiri artists have carried on the traditions of their culture and and the preservation of Jukurrpa - now new artists at the community of Yuendumu are coming forward to take their place in culture and Law. Paintings are grounded in the Jukurrpa or Dreaming Law of the Country, and this knowledge is passed down through traditional practices, through ceremony, song and art.

The substantial base of Warlpiri culture is reflected in the number of participants in cultural practices, with the community at Yuendumu having one of the larger populations of any desert Aboriginal settlement.

The paintings in this exhibition refer to different Jukurrpa related to aspects of the land and the sky. As many senior and well-known artists of the Warlukurlangu art centre have passed on, the younger artists are starting to make their mark and continue the culture of their forebears.

Land and Sky –  Warlpiri Artists of the Tanami Desert will feature at Japingka Gallery from 25 May to 11 July 2018.

Gallery 2

Omie Barkcloth Art - Papua New Guinea

Omie Artists from Oro Province in Papua New Guinea produce traditional textiles called barkcloth which are decorated and painted with family and tribal designs. These barkcloths are used during important ceremonies and remain part of everyday life in the villages. There are twelve villages producing artworks for Omie Artists, and care is taken to ensure that protocols and laws around clan copyright are maintained.

The story of barkcloth is embedded in the creation story of Suja the first Ancestor woman, who beat the original barkcloth from natural bush fibres. Barkcloth is made from the inner bark layers of rain forest trees. The fibrous sheets are pounded on rocks using palm mallets, then folded and stretched to make the cloth. Natural dye colours are made from plants and applied with a bone needle.

Barkcloth has traditionally been made by village women and the women artists have now been making nioge, or fibre skirts to sell through their art co-operatives for the past 14 years. The income for artists assists the families to access essential services for their remote homeland communities. It also helps to buy tools. medicines, clothes and education materials.The Omie barkcloths are now represented in national and international collections.

Japingka Aboriginal Art Price Ranges

Pricing

Fall in love with art that fits your budget. View works from a variety of price points.

Japingka Aboriginal Art Major Works

Major Works

These are the show stoppers painted by the most famous artists in our collection.

Japingka Aboriginal Art Dreamtime Stories

Aboriginal Art Dreamtime Stories

Stories and Aboriginal culture are inseparable. Learn about the fascinating tales behind the art.

Link to Education (Kuranjunku, Rosie Jap)

Education

Exciting resources for teachers and educators, including resource topics such as theme, artist, story, style, region and history .

Learning

Aboriginal Dot Painting

Australian Aboriginal dot paintings are typical of a style of art works from the Central and Western Desert. They are a medium for telling stories and enlivening culture.

Aboriginal Art Centres

Aboriginal Art Centres support artists and ensure that their work is sold through ethical channels. Japingka Aboriginal Art is proud to exhibit the work of many Art Centres from around Australia.

Symbols

Discover the symbols and iconography used in Australian Aboriginal Art. Learn how they can differ from artist to artist and community to community. 

Articles

Come with us on a learning adventure. Read in-depth educational articles that cover the context and background of Aboriginal art and culture, including interviews with artists, art centre co-ordinators and art collectors.

Featured Artists

Gloria Petyarre

Discover Gloria Petyarre's hypnotic celebration of nature and movement in her work about Bush Medicine Leaves. See why she is one of Australia’s most popular artists.  

Rosella Namok

You'll feel the tropic rain. New paintings from Rosella Namok, reflecting the heat and storms of the Lockhart River community in Australia's Cape York Peninsula.

Featured Regions

Utopia

Be astounded by the artistic genius and dazzling colour of the Utopia artists. Their work is diverse and highly innovative.

Lockhart River

The isolated Aboriginal community of Lockhart River on Cape York in far north Queensland has a population of around 450.

Aboriginal Art - The Big Picture

Learn more about the context for contemporary Australian Indigenous art.

Art of An Ancient Culture

Aboriginal art is part of the culture of Australian Aboriginal people who have lived on the Australian continent for over 50,000 years. They represent the longest continuous culture to be found anywhere on earth. Examples of Aboriginal art are found in caves and rock shelters, and the oldest of these have been dated back at least 18,000 years.

Scientists are using new technology to see if even older dates will be confirmed. Some of these rock art sites depict animals that are now extinct on mainland Australia and show a time when the climate and ecology were very different to what we have today. This artwork is part of the historical record of the Australian continent.

Modern Materials Tell Creation Stories

Today Aboriginal people use modern art materials to make their paintings, but they still rely on the ancient stories and culture to give meaning to what they paint. At the centre of many artworks are the Dreamtime or Creation stories that tell of how the land and all of nature were created by the Ancestors.

The Dreaming stories connect people to the land and require that the people act as guardians and continue the traditions and ceremonies laid down by the Ancestors. By painting and singing the ancient stories and songs the people maintain their connection to the land and their ancient heritage.

European Impact On Culture

Aboriginal people experienced a massive change to their culture and lands when European settlers came to Australia in 1788 and spread out across the country. In the past 230 years, as many as half of the 200 plus Aboriginal languages have been lost.

Many have survived and are part of the movement today to recognise and preserve Aboriginal languages, knowledge, and culture. From the 1970s onwards there began a change to the way Aboriginal people gained recognition for land rights and cultural respect.

Contemporary Aboriginal Art Movement Begins

A major step happened in 1971 at Papunya, a desert community in Central Australia, when senior men painted a large mural at the school to show the Dreaming story of the Honey Ant. School teacher Geoffrey Bardon had asked young students to paint stories from their own culture rather than paint images taken from western culture.

The elders painted the mural using the symbols familiar in their own culture, possibly intended as a statement of authority and direction marker for the local discussion about art. This action led to a painting group of senior men working at the school. They produced artwork based on their own Dreamings and using the ancient symbols of desert culture.

Aboriginal Fine Art Movement Spreads 

The decisive action by Papunya artists gave rise to the Desert Art movement as other communities and artists also started painting their stories using modern art materials.

The early paintings made at Papunya have become very valuable, and by the 1980s Aboriginal artworks were being exhibited in art museums and galleries in cities across Australia and internationally.

Art Centres Facilitate Cultural Expression

Many remote Aboriginal communities developed their own art centres to assist artists with materials and marketing. Papunya, Yuendumu, Balgo, Haasts Bluff, Ernabella, Kintore, and Lajamanu were among the communities that established art centre structures.

Other communities like Utopia relied on resources in towns like Alice Springs, which acted as service centres for the central desert region. Since the 1990s the availability of Art centres has extended to include hundreds of small remote communities.

Colour Palette Expands

The early desert painters at Papunya relied on a range of basic colours, often gouache or water-based paints, using black, white, yellow, red and brown tones. These colours were the ones most like the ochre earth pigments that had been used for ceremonial painting and rock art for thousands of years.

As the artists moved towards modern acrylic paints in the 1980s the range of available colours became much broader and brighter colours were introduced. Whereas men were the main artists at Papunya and women assisted within family groups to work on the men’s paintings, by the mid-1980s women began to make their own paintings. As part of this process, as women artists became well known they also opted for a wider range of colours.

Aerial View of the Land

Many desert paintings use aerial perspective, where the land is seen from above as if painting a map of the artist’s country. This comes from the need for Aboriginal people to keep deep knowledge of their country in picture form and in a song cycle so that they could carry large amounts of information in their heads.

The aerial view paintings often have Dreaming information overlaid on the map of the terrain, giving both a physical and a spiritual account of the country.

Art Brings Income & Cultural Expression

The spread of contemporary Aboriginal fine art has been an important part of life in remote communities. It has provided financial income to artists and their families, while also strengthening traditional culture and its role in everyday life, in schools and all interactions with the wider community.

Art has been able to communicate the values of Aboriginal life to the rest of the world and to overcome language and communication barriers.

Regions, Custodianship, Family Connection

Aboriginal art is regional in style, with each area having its own style and preferences, based on the local Dreamings and the work of influential senior artists of the area. Custodianship of Dreamings is passed down along family lines, and each family only paints those stories that they inherit.

Some regions have elected to use only natural ochre pigment paints while others have chosen to use acrylic paints within a certain preferred tonal range. Many of the artists do their painting in shared working areas, so ideas and techniques are readily observed and shared across generations within families.

Recognisable Art Styles

The art of the Central Desert has been the most influential in bringing Aboriginal artworks to a worldwide audience. Its use of repetitive patterns and mesmerising rhythms that are based on the forms of landscape and tied to Creation stories seems to speak to all universal values.

Other art-producing regions in Australia have a longer history with collectors. In particular, the bark painters of Arnhem Land along the north coast of Australia, have sold their work to collectors since the end of the nineteenth century. The styles seen in these regions use natural materials, ochre pigment on tree bark, and fine linework made with cut reeds. The subjects often include figures of humans and animals, sometimes using what is called the x-ray view, that shows the insides of the animals.

Contemporary Aboriginal Art Has Universal Appeal

While these paintings were admired and collected, they were mostly displayed in ethnographic museums that showed the art of the Indigenous First People.

It took the more abstract work of the desert artists to open up to the modern world about the time-honoured values and knowledge contained within Indigenous cultures. Now, these paintings are shown alongside modern western art in contemporary art galleries and homes of art lovers around the world.