Lajamanu Aboriginal Art
A selection of paintings showing the styles from this Aboriginal art region - some paintings may still be available for sale, while some may have been sold.
Lajamanu community is located 550 kilometres south west of the town of Katherine in the Northern Territory, in semi-arid country on the edge of the Tanami Desert. This country traditionally belongs to the Gurindji people, who now live over 100 km further north, around Daguragu and Kalkarinji.
Lajamanu’s history as an Aboriginal settlement goes back to 1949, when the Federal Government feared outbreaks of disease would occur unless the population of drought-stricken Yuendumu was drastically reduced. Several hundred Warlpiri people were trucked from Yuendumu to a waterhole 600km north, at the edge of the Tanami Desert.
Unable to live away from close relatives and their Dreaming sites, the Aboriginal people walked back to Yuendumu. Three ‘walk backs’ to Yuendumu occurred between 1958 and 1968, before the Warlpiri people were prepared to accept their new home. In the end, they stayed and established a strong community, which for many years was one of the staunchest in its opposition to the painting movement.
Contemporary Aboriginal art at Lajamanu only started in late 1986. Prior to this the symbolic icons appeared only in sand ceremonial paintings, as it was considered sacrilegious to place Warlpiri icons in a permanent frame of reference. Lajamanu is now home to almost 1000 people, mainly Warlpiri, who maintain their language and culture. Aided by its remoteness, the community boasts a strong sense of cultural identity, linguistic stability and its own Aboriginal Council.
Further information is available on exhibiting artists on the following links