• Jimmy Pike – Remembering His Life & His Art

    In this article Japingka’s David Wroth discusses his experience working with Jimmy Pike, commencing at Fremantle Prison during the early 1980’s. After Jimmy left prison they continued to work together through the marketing of Jimmy’s work with Desert Designs. David talks about Jimmy’s working process and the elements that you’ll see in his work. Jimmy was one […]

  • Seton College Aboriginal Culture Program

    Jade Dolman, Artist and Educator

    Jade Dolman is an indigenous artist and educator. In this interview she talks about a program exploring indigenous culture at Seton Catholic College in Perth, Western Australia. How did the Seton College project come about? Sophie Jaques, art teacher at Seton College got in touch with me. She was looking for an Aboriginal artist, a Nyoongar artist, to come and […]

  • Seton College Visual Arts Project

    Sophie Jaques is a Visual Arts teacher at Seton Catholic College in Perth. In 2016 she initiated a project for the Year 7 class.  Aboriginal art and culture were explored across whole school year in several subjects. Here she describes how the project came about and how it worked. Can you tell me how did this […]

  • Elsie Napanangka Granites – Art, Sorry Business & The Bulldogs

    Tracking down Elsie Napanangka Granites for a chat can be a challenge. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly Elsie’s been away from Alice Springs attending family funerals back in her community. The second reason is that Elsie, like many artists, prefers doing her art rather than talking about it. We did get to […]

  • Indigenous Culture In Schools: Sarrita King’s Perspective

      Sarrita King has paintings in major Australian and international art collections. In this article she  discusses how she would like to see Aboriginal art explored in schools. She has a message for teachers. What did you see being taught about Australian indigenous culture at school? I feel like I was informed but I don’t know whether that was […]

  • How I Came To Be An Artist – Sarrita King

      Can you talk a little about where you grew up and when did art start to become a priority in your life? I grew up in Darwin. I was born in Adelaide but moved to Darwin with my Mum and my stepdad. That was definitely the beginning of my cultural journey. My father’s family […]

  • The Wangkatjungka Remote School Mentors Project – Part 1

    Wangkatjungka Remote School Mentors Project

        The Principal’s Story – Keith Spencer In 2009 a project at Wangkatjungka Remote Community School brought the teenagers and elders together. The project boosted school attendance to unheard of levels as well as creating an exciting event at Japingka Gallery. Here is the story of that project told by Keith Spencer, Principal of Wangkatjungka Remote School at that […]

  • The Wangkatjungka Remote School Mentors Project – Part 2

    Aboriginal Art - Wangkatjungka Artists

    The Project Facilitator’s Story – David Wroth In 2009 a project at Wangkatjungka Remote Community School brought the teenagers and elders together. The project boosted school attendance to unheard of levels as well as creating an exciting event at Japingka Gallery. Here is the story of that project told by David Wroth of Japingka Aboriginal […]

  • The Wangkatjungka Remote School Mentors Project – Part 3

    The Gallery Director’s Story – Ian Plunkett In 2009 a project at Wangkatjungka Remote Community School brought the teenagers and elders together. The project boosted school attendance to unheard of levels as well as creating an exciting event at Japingka Gallery. Here is the story of that project told by Ian Plunkett. Quick links: Part 1 | Part 2 […]

  • Tiwi Design Art Centre: A Peaceful Place For Art

    Dianne is Studio Co-ordinator for Tiwi Design Art Centre on Bathurst in the Tiwi Islands. In this article she talks about the diversity of her role. She reflects on cultural change within the Arts Centre, the No Humbug rule, wish lists, Work for the Dole and sister girls. Where is the Tiwi Islands and how do you get […]

  • The Art & Influence of Bella Kelly

    Annette Davis, from the City of Albany’s Vancouver Arts Centre is the curator of the Bella Kelly Retrospective, a project supported by the Departments of Culture and the Arts and Regional Development, Royalties for Regions and Country Arts WA. In this interview Annette talks about the artist and her place in history. She discusses the proposal that Bella Kelly […]

  • The Exciting Diversity Of Ngukurr Arts

    Ngukurr is a remote Indigenous community on the banks of the Roper River in Southeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Jude Emmett is Manager of the Ngukurr Arts Aboriginal Corporation. In this interview he talks about Ngukurr Arts, the work of the artists and the sense of optimism about the future. Can you describe your […]

  • The Life & Art of Maria Josette Orsto

    The life and art of Maria Josette Orsto are entwined with many firsts. She was the first female member artist of Tiwi Design in Nguiu on Bathurst Island in the mid 1980s. She would become the first female member artist of Munupi Arts & Crafts, the youngest of three art centres on the Tiwi Islands. […]

  • New Survey Exhibition of Aboriginal Art Opens in Bucharest

    A new Aboriginal art exhibition “The Dreaming” opened in Bucharest, Romania in October 2015, featuring paintings by over 50 Aboriginal artists and 240 paintings. Major artists exhibiting include Emily Kngwarreye, Tommy Watson, Clifford Possum, Dorothy Napangardi, Walangkura Napanangka, Judy Watson Napangardi, and Ronnie Tjampitjinpa. The artworks include regional styles across Australia, covering the Central and […]

  • Yuendumu Men’s Museum and Western Desert Art

    In 1971 at the Warlpiri community of Yuendumu, north-west of Alice Springs, the senior men established a Museum as a safehouse for storing culturally sensitive items and artefacts used in ceremony and Law. It also contained murals and sand paintings representing significant Dreaming stories from the various Warlpiri skin groups, comprising images from sacred sites […]

  • The Perpetually Evolving Michelle Possum Nungurrayi

      Michelle Possum Nungurrayi is the younger daughter of Emily Nakamarra Possum and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. Clifford is celebrated as being one of the founding artists of the contemporary indigenous art movement. Michelle was born in Papunya Tula in 1970. Her family moved to Yuelamu, near Mount Allen shortly after. Michelle later married Heath Ramzan […]

  • Yondee Shane Hansen

    Nyoongar artist Yondee Shane Hansen was born in the south-west of Western Australia in 1964, at Dumbleyung, 270 km south of Perth. He grew up around Narrogin and later near Guildford on the outskirts of Perth. His story of his early life and his attraction to painting gives a strong idea of how his life […]

  • Rosella Namok’s Feeling For The Rain

    Rosella Namok lives in Cairns, Queensland. She paints about her home near the Lockhart River, a twelve hour drive away. Many of her works feature the monsoon rain. She talks here about her life, her art and what she would like people to enjoy about her work. So you grew up near Lockhart River? Yes […]

  • Aboriginal Art Symbols

      Symbols vary widely between the many different Aboriginal cultures found across Australia. But all symbols used in regions have a long history, going right back to prehistoric times, and since that time they have been used consistently by the local people. Examples of symbols engraved or painted on rock art sites show a record […]

  • Water – the Centre of Life

    Sarrita King - Water

      One of the great recurring stories in Aboriginal art is the location and presence of water on traditional lands. Over the vast land mass of the Australian continent, much of the country is in dry and water-deprived condition for large parts of the year. Throughout the different climate zones of the continent, the presence […]

  • The Carrolup School and Australian Landscape Painting

    The Carrolup School emerged in Western Australia as a distinctive landscape tradition of painting created by school aged Aboriginal children in the 1940s. Its elements of romantic depiction of the bush and bush life may well reflect the needs of the child artists who were removed from their Aboriginal families under government policy. The tradition […]

  • Art in the Torres Strait Islands

    The Torres Strait Islands, located off the coast of the northernmost tip of Queensland, are 274 islands that made up a historically busy intersection of trading and exploring. Trade with visitors from Europe and Asia was a key part of island life, with Japanese, Papua New Guineans and Malaysians regularly visiting, and a major Cambridge […]

  • Kerry McCarthy: Grandfather’s Song & The Janet Holmes à Court Collection

    Kerry Madawyn McCarthy is an Aboriginal artist from Daly River in the Northern Territory.  On the eve of her second solo exhibition at Japingka, she talks here about the influence of her grandfather and what painting means to her. Japingka: I believe you’ve had some good news? Yes. I’ve been told by Ian and David […]

  • Aboriginal Art movement at Utopia

    Utopia has become known as one of the most diverse and most independently operating groups of artists working from communities in Central Australia. The Utopia Homelands are adjacent to the traditional lands of the Eastern Anmatyarre and Alyawarre people, about 270 km north-east of Alice Springs. This area of 1800 square kilometres was named Utopia […]

  • Art centres in Arnhem Land

    Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory’s north east region is a remarkable landscape dominated by rocky outcrops and ranges that are home to some of Australia’s greatest heritage-listed Aboriginal rock art sites. These vast galleries of ochre paintings are amongst the oldest and most diverse rock art in the country, and amongst the oldest art […]

  • Desert Art comes to Yuendumu

    Early colourful forays into acrylic painting began at Yuendumu in the early 1980s when women were provided with art materials by anthropologists researching women’s body-painting. In 1983 male elders were invited to paint Jukurrpa Dreaming stories on the doors of the school, with the purpose of sharing cultural knowledge with young Warlpiri children. One of […]

  • Artists at Balgo

    Balgo, located on the western edge of the Tanami Desert in the far north of Western Australia was established as a Catholic Mission in 1939. The settlement brought together diverse tribal groups from the western edge of the desert, a mix of different languages, traditions and ceremonial practices. These groups included Kukatja, Walmajarri, Warlpiri, Pintupi, […]

  • Albert Namatjira & the Hermannsburg School

    For many Australians whose exposure to Aboriginal art was prior to the 1970s, the name of Albert Namatjira (1902-1959) is likely to nominate the first famous Aboriginal artist they would recognise. Albert Namatjira held his first exhibition in Melbourne in 1938 and his fine watercolour paintings of the dramatic Australian landscapes around his home community […]

  • Aboriginal Bark Paintings and Artefacts

    The bark paintings of Arnhem Land were responsible for shaping many people’s visual experience of Aboriginal Art prior to 1970. Coastal Arnhem Land had a plentiful supply of stringybark trees, and in the right season, large sheets of bark could be cut from the tree trunks and then cured and flattened over a fire. Once […]

  • The World’s Oldest Continuous Living Culture

    The idea that an ancient art form can be both timeless and contemporary is a challenge to our understanding of the progress of culture and ideas. But Aboriginal art has emerged from its timeless connection to the Australian landscape and its first inhabitants, to be seen by the wider world during the past forty years […]

  • Why Songlines Are Important In Aboriginal Art

    Maisie Campbell Napaltjarri

    Songlines are one of the many aspects of Aboriginal culture that artists draw on for inspiration.  They are the long Creation story lines that cross the country and put all geographical and sacred sites into place in Aboriginal culture. For Aboriginal contemporary artists they are both inspiration and important cultural knowledge. In this article, David […]

  • Custodianship In Aboriginal Art

    In Western culture artists are free to paint whatever subject they like. People often assume that same principle applies when they look at art in an Aboriginal art gallery. The opposite is usually true. Contemporary Aboriginal artists mostly paint the stories that belong to their family line and to places that their kinship group are […]

  • Art of the Yinjibarndi

    Patricia Floyd has been Manager of Yinjaa-Barni Art since its inception in 2006. She worked with the Bujee Nhoorr Pu mob before taking up a TAFE teaching role with Yinjaa-Barni people in Roebourne. At Patricia’s suggestion the group took up painting in 2005. In this interview Patricia talks about the early days of the group […]

  • How Group Styles And Colours Develop

    Lorna Napurrula Fencer

    From the 1970’s the contemporary Aboriginal art movement developed in communities across Australia. In this article David Wroth talks about how these communities developed their own visual language and colour palette through group interaction. The decisions of each group influenced the development of the style of painting that may be identified as belonging to that […]

  • Marcia Purdie & The Storytellers of Warmun

    Marcia Purdie, Red Valley

    In this interview Marcia Purdie talks about her love and respect for the elders of Warmun. She discusses the influence of her mother-in-law, artist Shirley Purdie, and her memories of Queenie McKenzie. Q. You spent some time with the old people from Warmun, can you tell me a little about what that was like and how […]

  • Indigenous and Endogenous – Cell Biologists and Aboriginal Art?

    Professor Nadia Rosenthal is currently Founding Director of the newly formed Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University. She talks here about what she and other cell biologists see when they look at aboriginal art. She reflects on the connection between the images of cells as seen through a powerful microscope, and the motifs in […]

  • Aboriginal Art and a Workplace Culture of Creativity

    Professor Nadia Rosenthal

    How does art transform a workplace? Professor Nadia Rosenthal was awarded a PhD in 1981 from Harvard Medical School and after a postdoctoral fellowship went on to direct a biomedical research laboratory at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Harvard Medical School. She is a Cell Biologist, and Founding Director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute […]

  • Collector Stories – Julie Fowell & Tony Brenton

    In this discussion, art collectors Julie Fowell and Tony Brenton talk with Jody Fitzhardinge from Japingka Gallery. Q: When did you first get interested in art? Julie: I was teaching in UWA and I met a student who was the daughter of local art dealers. They were also collectors and gallery owners. Her experience growing […]

  • Buying Aboriginal Art: From First Time Buyers to Collectors

    Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri

    Who’s buying aboriginal art right now? It’s changed a lot over the years. My first experience with selling aboriginal art was actually in Europe when we had a gallery in Covent Garden in London. Selling there was a completely different experience because virtually no one there knew anything much about aboriginal art at all.

  • Everyday Spirituality: Paintings from The Spinifex Arts Project

    Spinifex Arts Project Paint Boxes 695

    Amanda Dent, Project Manager for the Spinifex Arts Project, discusses new works being exhibited at Japingka Gallery in October 2014. Q: Can you tell us what excites you about this current exhibition? The works that Spinifex artists do are amazing, because they have such integrity, and there’s such an intuitive flow to the work. The […]

  • Sarrita King – Art, Passion and Story Telling

    Portrait of the Artist - Sarrita King

    A rising star in Australia’s art world, Aboriginal artist Sarrita King is known for her artworks that connect land, experiences, family and kinship.  She collaborates with her sister Tarisse King, and their works are sought after by collectors and galleries in Australia and internationally. Sarrita has Gurindji ancestry from the Northern Territory. For the opening of her […]

  • Working With The Spinifex Arts Project

    Myrtle Estelle Jap 011058

    Amanda Dent and her partner Brian Hallett are the Spinifex Arts Project Managers. They moved to the remote area Wingellina (or Irrunytju) in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands in 1999. In 2000, with the support of the Irrunytju Community Council, the women and Amanda started Irrunytju Arts, her first time working for Western Desert Artists. Brian and […]

  • Lorna Fencer and Yam Dreaming – An Interview with Didier Zanette

    Didier Zanette is passionate about art from the Pacific. He spends six months of each year living in New Caledonia and travels throughout the Pacific collecting indigenous art for his three galleries. In this interview he talks with David Wroth about his passion for indigenous Australian art and the upcoming exhibition of Lorna Fencer he […]

  • The Art of Lorna Napurrula Fencer (c1925 – 2006)

    First Meetings Since first meeting Lorna Napurrula Fencer at Lajamanu community in 1999, I had a feeling that Lorna was an artist with a big story to tell and a unique way of telling it. Japingka Gallery held its first exhibition of Lajamanu artists from the Warnayaka Arts cooperative in August 1999, including work by […]

  • The Early Influence of Geoffrey Bardon on Aboriginal Art

    Australian school teacher Geoffrey Bardon spent 18 months in the early 1970s in the remote Aboriginal settlement of Papunya, 240 km west of Alice Springs. Geoffrey was instrumental in nurturing the early days of the Western Desert aboriginal art movement. From humble and very difficult beginnings, the movement supported by Bardon went on to achieve […]

  • The Emily Kngwarreye Phenomenon

    Emily Kngwarreye painting - Private Eye Exhibition

    Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1919-1996) was a modern phenomenon of the Australian art world. Starting to paint when she was nearly 70, it is estimated that in a stellar career that lasted 8 years Emily may have painted as many as 5,000 paintings. In just the years from 1990 to 1993, Emily’s works were shown in […]

  • An Introductory Guide to Understanding Aboriginal Art

    Australian Aboriginal art is a unique view into the culture and values of Aboriginal people. Its expansion to reach a much wider audience has allowed a greater awareness of the nature of traditional Aboriginal world. There are many aspects to gaining a greater understanding of Aboriginal art, including looking widely at good examples of art […]

  • Exhibitions – Aboriginal Art at Japingka Gallery 1997-2010

    Japingka Gallery opened its exhibition program in 1997 with Aboriginal prints from the Art Print Network. Previously the artworks shown were all Aboriginal paintings and prints from the gallery collection. Since that time Japingka Gallery has hosted over 175 exhibitions sourced from Aboriginal communities and regions across Australia. We provide a list of all exhibitions […]

  • Aboriginal Dot Painting in Central Australia

    The Aboriginal dot painting style that typifies art works from the Central and Western Desert has become a medium for telling stories and enlivening culture. The source of Aboriginal dot painting comes from body painting for ceremony, from sand paintings and symbolic patterns carved on artefacts and rock galleries. Its original use may have been to […]

  • Aboriginal Art and Kinship Groups

    Aboriginal kinship (Skin groups) Aboriginal art is defined by the social and cultural setting where it was created, as is the case in all world art. As a representation of knowledge and of place, set down within an existing social structure, art has a function of expressing identity. Aboriginal artists express their identity and social […]

  • Indigenous Art or Aboriginal Art?

    The words ‘Aboriginal’ and ‘Indigenous’ are both used in Australia to describe the original inhabitants of the Australian continent. The word ‘Aboriginal’ is the established way to describe the first inhabitants, regularly used in contexts of Aboriginal community, Aboriginal health, Aboriginal art etc. ‘Aboriginal’ is also used as a noun, so a person is an […]

  • Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Australia

    The contribution of Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Australia has been of rapidly growing significance since the first desert works emerged from Papunya in 1971. At that time a young school teacher in the remote community of Papunya in Central Australia, keen to see what unique traditional work the Aboriginal children could produce, indirectly discovered that […]

  • Facts about Aboriginal Art

    Facts About Aboriginal Art

    1)  Aboriginal art is part of the oldest continuous living culture in world history, with Australian Aborigines having settled on the Australian continent somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago. Evidence of Aboriginal culture is found in the rock art, which so far has been dated back at least 20,000 years, while archaeology has dated […]

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