Australian Aboriginal Artists

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Abie Loy Kemarre

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Region: Utopia

Abie Loy Kemarre is a major Utopia artist from Central Australia, known for her highly detailed works of Bush Medicine Leaves and Bush Hen Dreaming. Abie builds her paintings up with tiny brush strokes, using the art skills she learned from her famous grandmother Kathleen Petyarre.

Alison Munti Riley - Aboriginal Artist Profile

Alison Munti Riley

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Region: APY Lands

Alison Munti Riley, a Pitjantjatjara artist born at Ernabella, began her painting career in 2006. She has won the Peoples Prize in the NATSIAA Telstra art awards in Darwin and exhibited widely in Australia, as well as USA and Europe. Alison paints the Seven Sisters Jukurrpa from her homelands.

Angelina Ngal Pwerle

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Region: Utopia

Angelina Ngal is a senior Utopia artist renown for her large, finely dotted canvases. With her sisters Kathleen Ngal and Polly Ngal, Angelina has created major paintings that refer to the native Bush Plum, encompassing the land, the women’s ceremonies and sites associated with the Bush Plum Dreaming story.

Anna Petyarre

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Region: Utopia

Anna Petyarre is a major painter of black and white artworks reflecting her Utopia homelands. Utopia is crossed by river systems flowing inland into Lake Eyre. The riverbeds are mostly dry during the year but are important resources for bush foods growing along the banks that draw underground water.

Artists of Utopia

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Region: Utopia

Artists of Utopia have a unique place in the story of the Aboriginal art movement. Beginning with batik textile art in the 1970s, many of the women artists went on to become famous painters, developing new ways to tell traditional stories. The skills have been passed down across the generations.

Athena Nangala Granites

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Region: Yuendumu

Athena Nangala Granites carries on the work of her grandmother Alma Nungarrayi Granites (1955–2017). Her powerful paintings of the Seven Sisters star constellation tell the story from this significant songline as it travels across Warlpiri country. The artworks capture the clear desert skies of outback Australia.

Belinda Golder Kngwarreye

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Region: Utopia

Belinda Golder Kngwarreye is a Utopia artist who paints the Bush Plum Dreaming story that she inherits from her grandmother, leading Utopia artist Polly Ngale. Belinda paints many colour tones of the plant as the fruits ripen. Her style of dotting also reminds us of the works of Emily Kngwarreye.

Betty Mbitjana (Mpetyane)

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Region: Utopia

Betty Mpetyane paints vivid images from traditional Awelye body paint designs made famous by her mother, the great Utopia artist Minnie Pwerle. Bold linear patterns of stripes and curves in these paintings represent the women’s ceremonial designs, Awelye, still used today by the women in ritual dancing.

Biddee Baadjo

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Region: Wangkatjungka

Biddee Baadjo paints the vast sandhill country of the Great Sandy Desert at her birthplace Piyurr waterhole named after a native bird. Biddee captures the essence of the desert and hidden water resources. She bears the marks of an eagles’ claws that grabbed her when she was a small baby.

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

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Region: Haasts Bluff

Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri (1920-2008) is a phenomenon of contemporary Aboriginal art, a Ngangkari or traditional healer, who began painting in the last five years of his life. His works tell the story of the ancestral white cockatoo near the Olgas, and are mesmerising images of creation and life’s journey.

Black and White

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Region: Alice Springs

Many Aboriginal artists have made reputations partly based on their powerful use of black and white paintings. This collection provides a quick overview of some of the most impressive works in the gallery. Selected artists include Lily Kelly, Anna Petyarre, Mitjili Napurrula, Sarrita King and Gloria Petyarre.

Betty Mbitjana Body Paint

Charmaine Pwerle

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Region: Utopia

Charmaine Pwerle is a third-generation Utopia artist – her mother is Barbara Weir and her grandmother is Minnie Pwerle. Charmaine’s paintings continue the tradition of Awelye body painting designs and other traditional stories related to the Utopia lands, where she uses rich colours and overlapping patterns.

Clarise Tunkin

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Region: APY Lands

Clarise Tunkin is a fourth-generation artist from Kanpi on the APY Lands in South Australia. Recognised artists in her family include great-grandfather Jimmy Baker, grandmother Kay Baker and mother Teresa Baker. Clarise began paints the stories of Country associated with the ancestral figure Marliliu.

Collaboration Wangkatjungka artists

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Region: Wangkatjungka

Senior Aboriginal artists at Wangkatjungka community have painted their ancestral lands in the Great Sandy Desert. These collaborative artworks record the family ownership of waterholes, the knowledge which is embedded in Dreaming law. Each artist contributes to the story of their own family events and locations.

Cowboy Louie Pwerle

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Region: Utopia

Cowboy Loy Pwerl is a senior Anmatyerr artist, who paints the Bush Turkey, Emu and Lizard Dreamings. His finely dotted paintings mark in the minute the journeys of Ancestor spirits across Country. Cowboy paints with his wives, sisters Carol and Elizabeth Kngwarreye at Mosquito Bore on Utopia homelands.

Damien Marks & Yilpi Marks

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Region: Alice Springs

Damien Marks and Yilpi Marks are a husband and wife team who bring new vitality into contemporary Aboriginal art. Their painting is marked by its strong colour and incorporating traditional symbols and artefacts. Damien was taught by the great artists Billy Stockman, Uta Uta Jangala and Clifford Possum.

David Downs

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Region: Fitzroy Crossing

Jarinyanu David Downs (1925-1995) was one of the great figurative painters of the Kimberley, He used ochre paints to recreate the great Walmajarri Storm Being Kurtal. David Downs was a custodian for the rain ceremony, and his art shows the Kurtal ancestor with the dancers dressed in the ceremonial headdress.

Debra Nangala McDonald

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Region: Haasts Bluff

Debra Nangala McDonald carries on some of the artistic legacy of her grandfather Shorty Lungkata Tjungurrayi (c1920–1987) with paintings of Goanna Love story, referring to ancestral country south of Lake MacDonald.  Debra’s aunties are also great painters – Linda Syddick Napaltjarri and Wentja Napaltjarri.

Debra Young Nakamarra

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Region: Kintore

Debra Young Nakamarra paints stories associated with Women’s ceremonies at the site of Tjintjintjin, west of Kintore. Her iconography comes from her mother Walangkura Napanangka. The shapes in the painting show the terrain through which the Tingari Ancestor Kutungka Napanangka passed on her Creation journey.

Delvine Petyarre

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Region: Utopia

Delvine Petyarre is the younger sister of artist Anna Petyarre and her Country is Boundary Bore on the Utopia homelands. Delvine continues the tradition using fine dot work, often black and white, to represent the land, showing the undulating sandhills and formations of dry river beds that mark this landscape.

Dennis Nona

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Region: Torres Strait

Dennis Nona is a Torres Strait Islander artist closely associated with the revival of local traditional stories and legends through the printmaking medium. His linocuts reflect the carving skills of his native Badu Island home. He also produces delicate coloured etchings and sculpture based on coastal life.

Djambu Barra Barra

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Region: Roper River

Djambu Barra Barra (1946– 2006) is a major painter from Roper River region. He painted large canvases with bold acrylic colours and used traditional cross-hatching patterns. His images were deeply connected to men’s stories and ancestral beings from his homelands Djambu is represented in major collections.

Doris Gingingara

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Region: Maningrida

Doris Gingingara (1946–1999) created a unique body of work based on her Arnhem Land heritage combined with her detailed observations of the bush and the natural world around her. Doris created artworks using ink marker pens on paper and many were editioned as full colour limited edition silkscreen prints.

Dorothy Napangardi

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Region: Yuendumu

Dorothy Napangardi (1952- 2013) established an international reputation for her beautifully worked black and white paintings of Mina Mina, the women’s sacred ceremonial site. Her work is beguiling with its carefully layered dots presenting minimal structures with rhythmic movement and intriguing patterns.

Dulcie Long Pwerle

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Region: Utopia

Dulcie Long Pwerle continues the proud tradition of Utopia painters who draw on cultural stories, like the Yam ceremonies performed by the women, and create contemporary interpretations. Dulcie’s extended artistic family include Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre, Greeny Purvis Petyarre and Minnie Pwerle.

Edward Blitner

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Region: Roper River

Edward Blitner is a major painter from Ngukurr in the Roper River region, and is known for his intricate paintings of animals and birds using the rarrk cross-hatching technique. Blitner uses the style and subject matter of his traditional lands, with a palette of earth colours, rendered in acrylic paints.

Eileen Napaltjarri

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Region: Haasts Bluff

Eileen Napaltjarri is a significant second-generation Aboriginal artist of the Western Desert movement, born at Haasts Bluff in 1956. Eileen depicts her traditional country with long rows of sandhills that form rhythmic patterns across the canvas. Her work is found in major collections across Australia.