Aboriginal art

Teresa Baker and Kani Tunkin of the Kanpi Womens Collaborative at the Pierre Arnaud Foundation in Switzerland with their painting Minyma Tjutangku Kunpu Kanyini, 2017. Image: Benji Bradley, Tjungu Palya.

Central Australia is the birthplace of the Aboriginal art movement. Artists across Central Australia continue to transform and revolutionise arts and cultural expression.

The creators of this vibrant art live right across the vast, arid, sparsely populated centre of the continent, which spans Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Aboriginal art can range from a small hand-made basket or wood carving, to a valuable painting by an artist with an international reputation. Whatever the medium, Aboriginal traditional law or culture is the foundation for all the art. Art centres provide a gateway to share, understand, buy, exhibit and explore contemporary Central Australian Aboriginal arts.

The art means to carry on our stories, to know it belongs to my family and it belongs to my father and grandfather, so that everyone can know about us, so we can carry on, so our kids can carry on forever, even when we’re gone. So non-Indigenous people can know about us in the future, how we fought to keep our culture strong for the sake of our children’s future. The art is about who you belong to, about what country you belong to, it’s about the only way you can know and others will know too. Our art has got to be protected because it belongs to individual people and their families. It is their belonging, it belongs to their group so it must be treated right way. The art movement should be really strong the way it’s going now and we should be keeping it stronger. We got a lot of strong people in our communities. Those artists are strong about their art.

Valerie Napaljarri Martin (former Desart Chairperson)