CLASSIC ABORIGINAL ART:

Traditionally, Aboriginal people lived as nomadic hunter gatherers, consequently not much of their older art or material culture survives. What remains: shields, spearthrowers, and decorative objects incised with abstract patterning gives insight into the evolution of the desert art which has gained worldwide recognition over the last thirty years. The objects presented here represent some of contemporary paintings' surviving antecedents, works whose dazzling abstract designs, reflecting such classic themes as country and the movement of water, continue to inform the iconography of Western Desert Art.


CLASSIC ABORIGINAL ART





WEST ARNHEM LAND
BARKS: COLLECTION 1



WEST ARNHEM LAND BARKS: OENPELLI, CROKER ISLAND, BESWICK, etc.

Barks paintings first reached a wider audience in the 1950's and 1960's. In Australia this happened in large part due to the efforts of Dr. Stuart Scougall, Dorothy Bennett, and Tony Tuckson who mounted expeditions to Arnhem Land for the express purpose of collecting and exhibiting the art, and in Europe through the efforts of Karel Kupka, whose collection now resides at the Musee Des Arts D'Afrique et D'Oceanie in Paris. It's no surprise that Picasso was known to have become fascinated with this style in his later years.

 

WEST ARNHEM LAND BARKS: MANINGRIDA

Maningrida artists have produced some of the most sophisticated bark paintings of the last thirty years. These paintings are known for figurative depictions of ancestor spirits using a sophisticated crosshatching infill known as "raark." The "raark" produces a visual effect analogous to the dotting in Western Desert paintings, a shimmer which excites the eye and conveys the luminous, transcendent, creative power of these Dreamtime ancestors. The figures often twist and turn in on themselves with M.C. Escher like visual logic, defying realistic pictorial conventions.

 

 

 

WEST ARNHEM LAND
BARKS: COLLECTION 2


 

 


MILINGIMBI BARKS

N.E. ARNHEM LAND BARKS: MILINGIMBI

In the early 1960's artists from the Milingimbi Methodist Mission produced lively paintings depicting ancestor spirits, ceremonial performances, ceremonial grounds, clan totems, body paint designs, birds, fish etc. A number of major artists painted there including Djawa, Bininyiwui, Lipundja, Buranday, Dawidi and many others. This was a particularly dynamic period in Yolngu art. By the 1970's art production had shifted from Milingimbi to nearby Ramingining, and a number of the surviving artists including the legendary David Malangi began painting for the art center there. In recent times art production has started up again at Milingimbi.

 

 

N.E. ARNHEM LAND BARKS:
YIRRKALA, GROOTE EYLANDT

Since the early 1960's Yolngu artists at Yirrkala sought to create a public art that would establish their identity to the outside world and enable them to be accorded the rights and respect due to them. From the legendary Yirrkala panels made for the mission church at the community, to the famous painting made for one of the first land rights cases, to the enormous contemporary barks that continue to win awards, this community has continued to maintain a strong cultural mission. The works of their kinsmen on nearby Groote Eylandt where art practice tapered off after the introduction of large scale mining, artists produced some of the most distinctive barks of the postwar period painted on black backgrounds made from manganese (now mined on the island) with delicate herringbone or dotted infill.

 

 

 


YIRRKALA AND GROOTE ISLAND BARKS


 


WANDJINA PAINTINGS

WANDJINA BARKS: Are from the Kimberlys region of Western Australia. The painting style originated in the caves as rock art and Wandjinas can still be seen today floating beneath the low rocky overhangs out bush. Many of these cave paintings are gradually deteriorating, due to the fugitive white pigment employed and the fact that they are often no longer "refreshed" by traditional custodians.

Wandjinas are creation ancestors, the bringers of the rain. They are ghostly in appearance typified by big staring eyes and a halo said to represent the clouds, lightning, and thunder. They have no mouths, as if they spoke the power of their voices would flood the whole world. The dots are often said to represent the rains.


 


All works on this site indicated with green dots For Sale are for sale. For serious inquiries please call us in San Francisco at (415) 871-5901, or visit the Director's Office on the site. We appreciate phone calls and the opportunity to get to know you and your collecting interests.



       


Sign the Guestbook | Purchasing Aboriginal Art | Home | Contact Us