aboriginal art

Tommy Watson & the politics of the indigenous art market

January 1, 2010

Yannima Tommy Watson is said to have painted his first picture in 2001, in the community of Irrunytju, twelve kilometers south-west of the tri-border, where South Australia meets Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The white man’s borders don’t mean much to the inhabitants of this remote settlement, also known as Wingellina, but it is … More

Gunybi Ganambarr

November 7, 2009
Gunybi Ganambarr, Munbi, 2009, natural earth pigments on shaped & incised bark, 105 x 90 cm

As colonial values spread across the continent in the nineteenth century it was widely believed that the first Australians were doomed to disappear. This was a fixed idea even for pioneering anthropologists such as Baldwin Spencer, who spent the year 1901-02 touring the outback, visiting the inhabitants of those remote regions. For Spencer and his … More

Gunybi Ganambarr

September 1, 2009

In many people’s minds there could be no art-form less open to change than bark painting. It is one of the world’s oldest living forms of artistic expression, probably dating as far back as those rock paintings done 40,000 years ago. Yet bark painting is also one of the abiding paradoxes of contemporary art, for … More

Emily Kame Kngwarreye in Osaka

February 1, 2008

“Why is it,” asks Margo Neale, “that they call Emily the impossible modernist?’” The term assumes that an elderly Aboriginal woman who spent virtually her entire life in the central desert region, had no chance of becoming acquainted with the great icons of modern art. The underlying idea is that modernism was the invention of … More