Australian Indigenous Art Guide for Beginners

Australian indigenous art is widely regarded both in Australia and internationally as a body of work significant in the history of art. Indigenous art holds a direct association to the land and the ‘Dreaming’ of the artist. Each painting is a ritual storytelling about a journey, place, animal, food, season, initiation or event.

Indigenous art

$6,500

There is a succinct history of Australian Indigenous art on the Australian government website at http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-art

The National Gallery of Australia is another valuable source of information. The NGA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection comprises over 7500 works and is the largest in the world.

The most recent indigenous paintings to excite the world have come from the Utopian region of Australia, a remote area 240 kms north east of Alice Springs that is home to around 2,000 aboriginal people. The people here speak very little English and there are minimal road signs, which make accessing the region difficult for tourists, but also add to its allure.

In the late 1980’s the aboriginal people of Utopia started to use acrylic paint on canvas with incredible results. It is from Utopia that famous indigenous artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye and her brother Kudditji Kngwarreye produced their distinctive works.

Australian indigenous art

$2,500

Utopia is renowned for the female artist community which continues to thrive through a network of dealers and representatives. Artists such as Gloria Petyarre, Jeannie Petyarre, Barbara Weir, Minnie Pwerle, Angeline Pwerle, Lenea Pwele and Evelyn Pultara produce works of art bursting with colour, creativity and contemporary genius.

The male artists of Utopia tend to paint with more traditional styles depicting their Dreaming with earthier tones and striking structured works. The works of Tommy Jones Kngwarrey, Clifford Tilmouth Pungarta, and Cowboy Louis Pwerle have a masculine appeal and can be found in National Galleries across Australia.

The works of aboriginal and Utopian artists have travelled the world in exhibitions that have gained overwhelming acclaim from noted art critics and historians, here is a sample:

“It was important to me that the work be hung along with your Jackson Pollocks and your Andy Warhols, there is no difference.” John Weber, John Weber Gallery, Soho, New York.

“I was moved not only by the remarkable images and the design of the paintings, but also by the astonishing density and complexity of their meanings.” Andrea Pekarik, Director, The Asia Society Galleries, New York 1988

“No contemporary painting from the Western tradition is able to communicate to us in such a straightforward way a message that is so universal.” Professor Maurizio Calvesi, Time Magazine July 1990.

Indigenous artwork

$4,250

Today there are over 250 professional artists in the Utopian region who continue to produce works which astound with diverse cultural richness.

The astute art collector can access Utopian works to suit their budget from an online art gallery such as Art to Art. Here you can conveniently compare a range of indigenous art sorting by artist or by price range. You can also read about the artist and a description of the work. Every Australian Indigenous art work is sold with a Certificate of Authenticity and in most cases a photograph of the artist painting the actual work is also available.

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