National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
Immerse yourself in a rich array of Aboriginal art in the National Gallery of Australia. A total of 13 galleries now showcase more than 7,500 works, from dot and bark paintings to watercolours, textiles, prints, ceramics and sculptures. Meander through different rooms, learning about the landscapes, Dreaming legends and historic events entwined with each art tradition. This important collection is a living, evolving expression of the world’s oldest living culture.
Aboriginal art is incredibly diverse but also unified, with stories and themes that consistently draw on the land and its spirituality. Wandering through the huge collection of the National Gallery of Australia, you can truly appreciate the variety of artistic styles and mediums, as well as the common inspirations.
Each gallery space showcases Aboriginal art from a particular time period or region, such as the exhibition of Aboriginal artefacts from the 1800s. Discover spears, didgeridoos, baskets, ceremonial tools and objects that have weathered the test of time due to the skill and imagination of their creators. Another room exhibits the ancient bark paintings and sculptures of western Arnhem Land. Get up close to the distinctive X-ray designs found in Kakadu National Park and see Dreamtime ancestors depicted on crosshatching.
Learn more Early Western Desert painting, or the Papunya School, from the remote Papunya community of Central Australia between 1971 and 1974. Under the guidance of art teacher Geoffrey Bardon, the children, and later the senior men of Papunya began to paint their Dreaming stories on canvas. Their dot paintings marked the beginning of a style that spread across the Central Desert, transformed the Australian art market and became recognizable around the world.