Black and White Aboriginal Art

Senior Aboriginal artists create beautiful black and white artworks that showcase the design and structure of their traditional art styles.

 

Tingari – Karrkurritinytja by George Ward Tjungurrayi

George Ward Tjungurrayi  |  Tingari – Karrkurritinytja

Jap 011863  |  acrylic on linen  |  150 x 90 cm

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Untitled by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Untitled

Jap 019927  |  acrylic on linen  |  122 x 61 cm

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Jilamara by Rachel Puruntatameri Merican

Rachel Puruntatameri Merican  |  Jilamara

Jap 015745  |  natural ochres on canvas  |  45 x 45 cm

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Tingari by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri  |  Tingari

Jap 012899  |  acrylic on linen  |  178 x 120 cm

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Pirlinyanu by Julie Nangala Robinson

Julie Nangala Robinson  |  Pirlinyanu

Jap 017249  |  acrylic on linen  |  152 x 91 cm

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Rock Formations by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Rock Formations

Jap 020261  |  acrylic on canvas  |  153 x 97 cm

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Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa by Dorothy Napangardi

Dorothy Napangardi  |  Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa

Jap 017089  |  Colour aquatint etching  |  44 x 44 cm

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Tali – Sandhills by Minnie Nakamarra Nelson

Minnie Nakamarra Nelson  |  Tali – Sandhills

Jap 020570  |  acrylic on canvas  |  118 x 60 cm

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Tingari by George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi

George Hairbrush Tjungurrayi  |  Tingari

Jap 018382  |  acrylic on linen  |  122 x 91 cm

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Malliera Ceremonies by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Malliera Ceremonies

Jap 019937  |  acrylic on linen  |  152 x 91 cm

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Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa by Dorothy Napangardi

Dorothy Napangardi  |  Karntakurlangu Jukurrpa

Jap 017077  |  Limited Edition Silkscreen  |  102 x 67 cm

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Uwalki Watiya Tjuta by Mitjili Napurrula

Mitjili Napurrula  |  Uwalki Watiya Tjuta

Jap 011407  |  acrylic on linen  |  163 x 100 cm

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Rock Formations by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Rock Formations

Jap 020253  |  acrylic on canvas  |  75 x 75 cm

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Sand Painting – Water Series by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Sand Painting – Water Series

Jap 017997  |  mixed media on canvas  |  76.5 x 36 cm

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Rocky Outcrops at Ungarla by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Rocky Outcrops at Ungarla

Jap 019921  |  acrylic on linen  |  122 x 61 cm

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Shell Middens by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Shell Middens

Jap 019013  |  acrylic on canvas  |  167 x 92 cm

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Ngankari by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Ngankari

Jap 019964  |  acrylic on linen  |  41 x 41 cm

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Warnti by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Warnti

Jap 018802  |  limited edition screenprint  |  31.5 x 42.5 cm

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Waki Mab by Dennis Nona

Dennis Nona  |  Waki Mab

Jap 014319  |  Linocut  |  48 x 61 cm

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Leaves- Smoking Ceremony by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Leaves- Smoking Ceremony

Jap 020259  |  acrylic on canvas  |  149 x 97 cm

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Derbarl Yerrigan Wetlands by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Derbarl Yerrigan Wetlands

Jap 019855  |  acrylic on canvas  |  152 x 152 cm

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Derbarl Yerrigan by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Derbarl Yerrigan

Jap 020254  |  acrylic on canvas  |  100 x 70 cm

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Entibera Awelye by Joy Kngwarreye

Joy Kngwarreye  |  Entibera Awelye

Jap 000326  |  acrylic on linen  |  100 x 120 cm, triptych

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Woman Carrying her Two Boys by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Woman Carrying her Two Boys

Jap 018803  |  limited edition screenprint  |  45.5 x 34 cm

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Zurath AW Dogai (State 1) by Dennis Nona

Dennis Nona  |  Zurath AW Dogai (State 1)

Jap 014321  |  Linocut   |  47 x 67 cm

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Kirrkirr  –  Chicken Hawk by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Kirrkirr – Chicken Hawk

Jap 018800  |  limited edition screenprint  |  31 x 40 cm

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Shell Middens by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Shell Middens

Jap 020256  |  acrylic on canvas  |  118 x 88 cm

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After the Rains by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  After the Rains

Jap 020257  |  acrylic on canvas  |  119 x 89 cm

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Japingka Dreamtime Story II by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Japingka Dreamtime Story II

Jap 018799  |  limited edition screenprint  |  33.5 x 43.5 cm

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Malliera Ceremonies by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Malliera Ceremonies

Jap 019938  |  acrylic on linen  |  122 x 91 cm

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Lake Monger Fish Nets by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Lake Monger Fish Nets

Jap 020255  |  acrylic on canvas  |  100 x 70 cm

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Tali – Sandhills by Lily Kelly Napangardi

Lily Kelly Napangardi   |  Tali – Sandhills

Jap 019874  |  acrylic on linen  |  221 x 126 cm

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Ngurra Wanjulajarra by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Ngurra Wanjulajarra

Jap 018797  |  limited edition screenprint  |  33 x 45.5 cm

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Coral Reef by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Coral Reef

Jap 019204  |  acrylic on canvas  |  185 x 95 cm

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Malliera Ceremonies / Diptych by Dr George Tjapaltjarri

Dr George Tjapaltjarri  |  Malliera Ceremonies / Diptych

Jap 019924  |  acrylic on linen  |  198 x 122 cm

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Parapara Karparn and Wirrikari by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Parapara Karparn and Wirrikari

Jap 018801  |  limited edition screenprint  |  30 x 44.5 cm

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Gnamma Holes by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Gnamma Holes

Jap 019399  |  acrylic on canvas  |  188 x 96 cm

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Many Aboriginal artists have created a distinctive sense of their own style by using a restricted palette in their black and white Aboriginal art. A brief look at the approaches of several artists highlights how they have used the contrast and design qualities created through black and white to strengthen their message.

The black and white Aboriginal art format is successfully used by Mt Liebig artist Lily Kelly Napangardi to create a feeling of the vast sandhill terrain that dominates her desert homelands. By varying the intensity and tone of the white dotting on a black background, Lily Kelly achieves a sense of a grand, shifting landscape that has a sense of mystery attached to it.

Anna Petyarre, who draws on the landscapes around Boundary Bore on the Utopia homelands, uses finely dotted black and white linear designs to create her country. The structures, like those of Lily Kelly, suggest the effects of wind and water on the desert landscape. Long lines of sandhills with meandering watercourses are revealed as structures of great importance to Anna’s ancestral stories.

Eva Nelson Napaltjarri uses intricate black and white dotting in her paintings of the Ngadajirri or Budgerigar Dreaming story from Mt Dennison, in Central Australia. She creates the contours and waterholes of the site where the Budgerigars flock at nesting time. The fine contrasts of the black and white treatment suggest both the minute detail and scale of the birds’ environment.

Veteran desert artist Ronnie Tjampitjinpa uses a bold linear style to create the symbols associated with Water Dreaming and the Tingari stories from Pintupi country. By reducing the forms to black and white Ronnie starkly maps out the designs as they have been created since ancient times as sand paintings or incised designs on artefacts or rock surfaces. While the Aboriginal artists’ approaches in this collection vary greatly, all manage to achieve a distinctive quality by using the limited contrast found in black and white.

View more artworks at Japingka:
Gloria Petyarre
Kerry Madawyn McCarthy
Ronnie Tjampitjinpa
Margaret Lewis Napangardi
Mitjili Napurrula
Colours of the Earth
Dorothy Napangardi & Kim West Napurrula

More about Aboriginal art at the National Gallery of Australia