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.

 

Rock Formations by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Rock Formations

Jap 020261  |  acrylic on canvas  |  153 x 97 cm

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Bush Bean by Nancy Napangardi Martin

Nancy Napangardi Martin  |  Bush Bean

Jap 022249  |  acrylic on canvas  |  121 x 90 cm

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Mina Mina Jukurrpa by Valda Napangardi Granites

Valda Napangardi Granites  |  Mina Mina Jukurrpa

Jap 021976  |  acrylic on linen  |  121 x 92 cm

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Hunting for Bush Tucker by Gracie Morton Pwerle

Gracie Morton Pwerle  |  Hunting for Bush Tucker

Jap 021565  |  acrylic on canvas  |  130 x 95 cm

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My Country by Dulcie Long Pwerle

Dulcie Long Pwerle  |  My Country

Jap 021419  |  acrylic on canvas  |  144 x 89 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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My Country by Judy Toby

Judy Toby  |  My Country

Jap 021576  |  acrylic on canvas  |  199 x 88 cm

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Water Dreaming – Puyurru by Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson

Chantelle Nampijinpa Robertson  |  Water Dreaming – Puyurru

Jap 020839  |  acrylic on linen  |  122 x 76 cm

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Walpa Tjukurpa Kupi Kupi by Jorna Newberry

Jorna Newberry  |  Walpa Tjukurpa Kupi Kupi

Jap 022798  |  acrylic on linen  |  120 x 90 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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Waki Mab by Dennis Nona

Dennis Nona  |  Waki Mab

Jap 014319  |  Linocut  |  48 x 61 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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Ngintaka by Jorna Newberry

Jorna Newberry  |  Ngintaka

Jap 022444  |  acrylic on linen  |  151 x 91 cm

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My Country by Judy Toby

Judy Toby  |  My Country

Jap 021577  |  acrylic on canvas  |  200 x 88 cm

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Mina Mina Jukurrpa by Alice Napanangka Granites

Alice Napanangka Granites  |  Mina Mina Jukurrpa

Jap 022238  |  acrylic on linen  |  200 x 54 cm

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Gnamma Holes by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Gnamma Holes

Jap 021835  |  acrylic on canvas  |  134 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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Kirrkirr  –  Chicken Hawk by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Kirrkirr – Chicken Hawk

Jap 018800  |  limited edition screenprint  |  31 x 40 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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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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Tali – Sandhills by Lily Kelly Napangardi

Lily Kelly Napangardi   |  Tali – Sandhills

Jap 019874  |  acrylic on linen  |  221 x 126 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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Untitled by Nyurapayia Nampitjinpa

Nyurapayia Nampitjinpa  |  Untitled

Jap 010529  |  acrylic on linen  |  46 x 38 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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Tingari by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri

Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri  |  Tingari

Jap 012899  |  acrylic on linen  |  178 x 120 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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Tingari – Karrkurritinytja by George Ward Tjungurrayi

George Ward Tjungurrayi  |  Tingari – Karrkurritinytja

Jap 011863  |  acrylic on linen  |  150 x 90 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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Bushfire Dreaming by Ronnie Tjampitjinpa

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa  |  Bushfire Dreaming

Jap 014408  |  acrylic on linen  |  90 x 59 cm

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Smoking Ceremony by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Smoking Ceremony

Jap 020822  |  mixed media acrylic on canvas  |  139 x 87 cm

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Smoking Ceremony by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Smoking Ceremony

Jap 020844  |  acrylic on canvas  |  101 x 85 cm

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Gnamma Holes by Yondee Shane Hansen

Yondee Shane Hansen  |  Gnamma Holes

Jap 020636  |  acrylic on canvas  |  116 x 63 cm

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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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Murrungurr Warnti by Jimmy Pike

Jimmy Pike  |  Murrungurr Warnti

Jap 021684  |  limited edition screenprint  |  19 x 14 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