Artist: Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Photograph by Greg Weight

Emily Kame Kngwarreye
1910 - 1996
Emily Kngwarreye is one of the most important abstract painters of the 20th century and one of the most significant artists that Australia has ever produced. Her painting was inspired by what she knew: her dreaming, her cultural life as an Aboriginal elder and the natural world that surrounded her. Throughout their history, Aboriginal people have used various forms of dynamic artistic expression, including body and sand paintings, to reflect their unique perception of the world.

Emily shifted her style from dots to gestural brush strokes that echoed the lines painted on women's breasts and shoulders for traditional ceremonial performances. Although Aboriginal art has often been classified as 'primitive art' in comparison to Western Art.  Emily's strikingly modern and beautifully innovative works were created in an environment far away from the influence of the Western Art tradition. Emily's genius was nurtured in the Australian outback and her world provides a wealth of inspiration.


Emily Kame Kngwarreye - Big Yam Dreaming 1995
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas - Approx 291 x 801 cm

Emily Kame Kngwarreye painted her Big Yam Dreaming in 1995 at Utopia in central Australia.

The subject is her major Dreaming story of the yam and its connection to her ancestral country of Alhalkere. Emily painted many works about the yam plant, a primary source of food for the Aboriginal people. Like many Aboriginal artists, Emily often sang the songs about  Yam Dreaming while painting.

Emily Kngwarreye, Kame Awely

Emu Woman 1988–89
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 92.0 x 61.0cm

"Emily Kngwarreye's paintings are a response to the land and the spiritual forces which imbue it; the contours and formations of the landscape, climatic changes, the parched earth and flooding rains, the shapes and patterns of seeds and plants."

 From a biography of Emily Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia at the National Gallery of Australia.

 Utopia panels, 1996, 263.2×87.0 cm,
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Licensed Viscopy, 2007

Awelye, 1995
Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
90 x 150 cm


Woven Meaning: The Continuity of Aboriginal Fibre Art

Weaving baskets and making bags were and are essentially women's arts. Not only are they great works of art that originated in ancient times and are still made today, but they also had extremely important functions within the society from which they came. In recent years, the textile arts have emerged from the shadows of craft skills courses and are now represented in art galleries. This has led to a complete change in the way in which people perceive the arts of fibre weaving and basket making among Aboriginals. Baskets have come to be respected as a form of modular sculpture, the interaction of two linear elements creating patterns in colour, light and shade. Never has it been more clearly apparent that Aboriginal fibre constructions are unquestionably fine art.

                                                         Weaving, Photograph: Lucia Rossi

                                                                    Aboriginal Fibre Art

                                                               Unititled, by Helen Guyula

                             An Arukun lady working on string bags. The fibre is termed thuuth or string.
                       Obtained from the cabbage fan farm, the fibre is dyed before being spun into string.

Bottles, 2006
ArtistRobyn Djunginy
Ramingining NT
MaterialsPandanus, natural dyes, coiling techinque. (left to right) 58.3 x 37.5 cm (diam); 43.6 x 33.5 cm (diam); 78.6 x 43.5 cm (diam); 43.9 x 25.8 cm (diam)

Twined ceremonial dilly bag with diamond designs painted in ochre on the
                      pandanus surface and Rainbow lorikeet feather pendants from eastern Arnhem Land.


Picture http://www.sellingyarns.com/2009/images_credited/2009/RobynDunginy.jpg
Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art http://qag.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/past/recently_archived/floating_life
Innovation for sustainability http://www.sellingyarns.com/2009/credits/
Gallery Unveils Aborigianl Fibre Art Collection http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/gallery-unveils-aboriginal-fibre-art-collection,14179
ONE SUN ONE MOON - Aboriginal Art in Australia [p.271 - 283]

Artist: Paddy Bedford

Paddy Bedford and one of his paintings, Biriyalji - Fish Hole (2000), at the MCA.
Photo: Brendan Esposito

Paddy Bedford, 1922-2007

Paddy bedford's  landscapes were of his mother and father's dreaming, of the emu, turkey and black cockatoo, and of the massacres. They are simple and contemporary, yet deal with complex issues of indigenous culture, myth, memory and black-white relationships.

Paddy experiments freely with colour, form and pictorial space in his paintings, ranging from his early, densely patterned panels of red, yellow and black ochres, to his recent, expansive canvases in black and white, interspersed by vivid gouaches on paper.

    Heart of Blackness

                                                  Paddy Bedford, Cockatoo Dreaming,2002
                                              Ochres / pigm with acrylic binder on Belgian linen
                                                                         180 x 150 cm

Paddy has painted ceremonially all his life, but began painting on canvas for the art market after the establishment of the Jirrawun Aboriginal Art cooperative by Freddie Timms in 1997. Paddy was one of the original members of the cooperative, set up to sell members' artworks through commercial galleries to the public on the same terms as white artists.

Paddy's work is sparse in composition and bold in colour and form, depicting traditional dreaming stories as well as stories from the artist's own lifetime. His canvases may show abstracted road, property boundaries, rivers, campl liafe and stock yards, or turkey, emu and cockatoo dreamings.

Unlike several other indigenous arts cooperatives around Australia, the members of the Jirrawun cooperative continue to paint with ground natural pigments rather than acrylic paint.

                                                            Paddy Bedford, Untitled ,2003
                                                        Gouache on acid-free crescent board
                                                                          51 x 76 cm

                                                                      Light Creek, 2004

                                                     Paddy Bedford, Dingo Dreaming, 2001,
                                                           ochre on canvas, 122 x 135cm.


Art Right Now2 http://gallery.discoverymedia.com.au/artzinePub/story.asp?id=360&section=ExNews 
Raft Artspace - Paddy Bedford http://www.raftartspace.com.au/PaddyBedford.html
Paddy Beford - visual art preview from The Blurb http://www.theblurb.com.au/Issue77/PaddyBedford.htm
picture: http://www.shermangalleries.com.au/images/artists/07CT4318.jpg


Artist: Freddie Timms

Freddie Timms
Born c. 1946, Gija, Kununurra, Kimberley region

Freddie Timms' paintings, with expanses of paint lined with white dots. When I saw his artwork first time was in  a book that called "ONE SUN ONE MOON - ABORIGINAL ART IN AUSTRALIA". His painting (JACKYARD 2004) is on the cover of this book that deeply attracted me. Many of his pictures are like aerial maps of the bones of the country where he lived and worked all his life. Mapping is on a topographic level that showing features of the landscape such as black soil, red ground, sandy ground, hills, creeks and water holes as well as a historical and spiritual level, showing roads, stockyards, homesteads and dreaming places. Much of the country where he worked on Lissadell, a frequent painting subject, is now under the water of Lake Argyle formed by the damming of the Ord River.

Painted by Freddie Timms
synthetic polymer paint on canvas, diptych;
300x 180 cm

 Wunubi Spring
Painted by Freddie Timms
synthetic polymer paint on canvas, diptych;
300x 180 cm

 Untitled 1991 
Painted by Freddie Timms
123x 91 cm

1997 Painted by Freddie Timms
122 x 70 cm triptych,  each panel 40 x 70 cm

Timms bases his painted portrayals of his country on actual topographical features instead of exploring ancestral mythological themes, choosing instead to focus on the landscape's history and evolution since colonisation. Many of Timms' paintings are stories of exploitation, alcohol and violence. He often seeks to impart his political views through his paintings. 


Book - ONE SUN ONE MOON- Aboriginal Art in Australia [ p.244- p.247]
Website - Aboriginal Fine Arts http://www.aaia.com.au/freddietimms.htm
Japingka Gallery - Australian Aboriginal Art http://www.japingka.com.au/artist-profiles.cfm?artistID=58

Australian Aboriginal Crane Dance

Australian Aboriginal Crane Dance (Video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2vzsSmqGg8
I'm really interested in Australian aboriginal musical performance, and this is a video about the aborigianl crane dance what I found in the Youtube. Australian aboriginal dance reminds Australians the root in Australia Day celebration.

This pretty Aboriginal art print is titled Crane Dance and features two beautiful big cranes in the centre of a swirling mass of native Australian animals.

THE YUENDUMU DOORS - Art and Dreamings

    THE YUENDUMU DOORS - Art and Dreamings (Brochure)   
    South Australian Museum
    Photo by Yan SUN

Last Thursday, I visited an exhibition (Theme: THE YUENDUMU DOORS - Art and Dreamings)  in the South Australian Museum. It made a deep impression on me. Yuendumu Doors tells the stories associated with each door, and explains the Western Desert painting style. In 1984, senior Warlpiri men painted thirty doors of the local primary school to give their children a record of the Yuendumu 'Dreamings'. Attractively presented and containing full colour plates.  The rich color, comprehension and perfect expression that reflecting the kind side of human soul attracted me deeply.

Ngatijirrikirli (Budgerigar)
Painted by Paddy Japaljarri Stewart
Yuendumu School Door #17
Photo by Yan SUN

This is a very interesting exhitition. It was a way for the elders to signify their approval of going to school, the connections between traditional knowledges and school knowledge and they acted as a warning about the dire consequences of vandalism. They were removed in 1995 in order to safeguard them from deterioration, but also, rumour has it, from being stolen by art thieves... by the 1990s they were immensely valuable.

(From Left) Woman and Snake Dreaming,
Two Men Dreaming,Small Yam and Big Yam Dreaming
Yuendumu School Door
Photo by Yan SUN

"The Yuendumu School Doors"

"In 1983 senior Warlpiri men grasped an historic opportunity to paint their sacred Dreaming designs on the doors of the remote Yuendumu school, 250 km north west of Alice Springs. It was a key moment in the history of Australian art, and it symbolised the Warlpiri's decision to explain the Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) to the world beyond their desert home."

"There were 30 original Doors. Nine are displayed here. Unique documents of history and culture, they not only reveal ancient stories and beliefs, but also the scars and graffiti of exposure to the elements and the schoolyard. "

Presented with the generous support of individual donors to the Yuendumu School Doors appeal and the South Australian Museum Foundation Inc.

(From Left) Milky Way Dreaming,
Honey Ant and Mulga Worm Dreaming,Two Kangaroos Dreaming
Yuendumu School Door
Photo by Yan SUN

Milky Way Dreaming (Detailed)
Painted by Paddy Japaljarri Sims
Yuendumu School Door
Photo by Yan SUN

From the touch screen. I could clearly to understand why the doors, the introduction about the doors, and more information about the artists. The most important is I could see  the explanation  and annotation of each painting doors very distinctly.  From their paintings, I could see that there is one of the earliest examples of Aboriginal artists successfully transferring their ancient ground paintings to a large-scale modern medium.

 Touch Screen
Photo by Yan SUN

Woman and Snake Dreaming (Touch Screen)
Painted by Larry Jungarrayi
Yuendumu School Door
Photo by Yan SUN

Thereinto, the most appeals to me is the door called 'Woman and Snake Dreaming', this painting represented women engaged in decorating themselves for ceremonies. These are dreaming women. Also shown here in this painting are dreaming snakes who stood hidden to the west of where the women were gathered, engaged in their ceremonial activities. The brightly blue color and visual S-shaped profoundly attracted me.


Whether the revitalisation of Australian Aboriginal art has been one of the great success stories of modern art

In my opinion, I don't really agree with this statement. think it is not the true contemporary art. In the eyes of world, the revitalisation of Australian Aboriginal art is extraordinary and each one is unique.Aboriginal paintings are abstract and attractive. Most of us like abstract paintings so much, the different colors matching and a very strong feeling of unknown catch my eyes. The reality is aboriginal artists always keep up the traditional design style of their paintings. People don't really understand their culture, history, and even their true thoughts. Australian Indigenous art resists interpretation outside of its historicity and continues to elude definition in terms relevant to Western art theory. Sometimes, when we appreciate the aborigianl paintings in the art gallery or exhibition, I think most of us enjoy it, but that doesn't mean the revitalisation of Australian Aboriginal art has been one of the great success stories of modern art.


Artists: Lin Onus, Rover Thomas, Yvonne Koolmatrie

Lin Onus was an artist who did much to broaden the scope and league the strands of Australian Indigenous arts.He was also diffusely loved and respected for his compassion and willingness to lead the cause of Aboriginal progress. He experimented not only with painting but also with sculpture. Lin Onus' work is a spirit all compact of fire. Some of Onus' early works directly convey  the anger he felt at social injustice towards Indigenous and other groups he saw as oppressed. I really appreciate his spirit and quality. He always  express his thoughs metaphorically in his works. Sometimes, it's humorous, sardonic and acuminous.

Representative Works - Lin Onus

 Fruit Bats1991
polychromed fibreglass sculptures, polychromed wooden disks, Hills Hoist clothesline
250 x 250 x 250cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales
 Ginger and my third wife approach the roundabout
synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen
200.0 x 250.0 cm
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Purchased 2000. The Queensland Government's special Centenary Fund
© Lin Onus. Licensed by VISCOPY, Australia

Rover Thomas was one of the most famous aborigianl artists in Australia. His landscapes reflect the artist's immanent understanding and oneness with his country that representing a formidable and vibrant living essence. It's not just of the physical landscape, but also of the changing family gathering, past and present, that breathed life into and on the earth. I can extremely feel his love for the homeland, that's great and powerful. Rover Thomas' minimalist abstract works are at once ancient and contemporary, most painted in the umber and ochres colours of his native land. 

Representative Works - Rover Thomas

 Two Men Dreaming
national pigments on canvas board
91 x 61 cm


 Gula Gula (Manking)
earth pigments and natural binders on canvas
90.2 x 180.5 cm
The Janet Holmes à Court Gallery Collection, Perth
Purchased 1989
Reproduced courtesy of Warmun Art Centre

Yvonne Koolmatrie freed her imagination and breathed life into fantastical woven articulations that are her trademark. I really like her sculpture. Especially the Bi-plane that she discovered a coiled-weave monoplane. I felt the embrace of freedom in the sky. Exquisite techniques and lovable modelling caught my eyes. It's wonderful!
Yvonne Koolmatrie with her sculptures

Representative Works - Yvonne Koolmatrie

Bi-plane 1994Berri, South Australia, Australia
Object, Fibre object, woven sedge grass
Technique: Ngarrindjeri coiled basketry
50.0 h x 113.0 w x 135.0 d cm


Destiny Deacon

Destiny Deacon

Deacon is one of the most famous and controversial contemporary Aboriginal artists. She's interested in photography and video. I was shocked when I seriously understand and percept her projects. She's valiant and heated. Some of Deacon's  pictures satirise majesty. At first, I don't really understand what the meaning of her images and dioramas of dolls is. I think aboriginal arts and culture is profound and complicated. For the invastion of the Western colonists, few aboriginal artists can be so bold to voice their true opinions in their art works, but she did it. In my opinion, for a state and national recognition, are spiritual and artistic recognition and commitment to the arts in this pioneering role. Deacon's art works draws the viewer into encounters that both delight and unsettle that is an eloquent story.  I admired her spunk. As I read in the last article, the informality of Deacon's work and the sometimes raucous performances enacted for it ensure that it is never prescriptive, never too obvious. Although frequently acerbic, it is volatile, dynamic, humane and generous.

Destiny Deacon, Adoption (1993/2000),
Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Over the Fence 2000
from the series Sad & Bad
light jet print from Polaroid original
80 ◊ 100cm
Edition of 15
Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

Destiny Deacon,
Oz Games—Under the spell of the tall poppies 1998/2003


Visit South Australian Museum

Today I am fortunate enough to visit the South Australian Museum. There is a very special exhibition about the Australian indigenous culture, history and art works. It makes me have a more comprehensive understanding of the Australian indigenous history, culture and art after this visit.

The museum displayed a lot of traditional and contemporary paintings, handicrafts, original articles for daily use and etc. It made me deeply feel the unique charm and style of the aboriginal art and at the same time it brought me an immeasurable space to dream away.

If there was something that could catch humans’ appreciation and resonation, it must be the aboriginal art. The most impressive fact for contemporary artists is, although aborigines still live in a primitive environment, their culture and art has developed considerably. Someone used ‘Dreaming’ to generalize all the aboriginal art, which is quite appropriate. For natives, dreaming is to describe the rich and coherent ideas, which includes values and mind. Dreaming is also ancestors who were born, have lived and died, yet still remains present.

In the exhibition, desert paintings gave me the impression of being abstract. These arts are to the hilt to preserve and extend its original mode of thinking and visual arts, which is living‘original art’. Its original style of primitive simplicity brought me a unique and fantastic visual experience. In the meantime, I started to be interested in how the aboriginal thinking reflects to the art form.

The basic characteristics of indigenous art are different abstract symbols formed by similar dots. Dots make us be reminiscent of the desert characteristic, and the basic state of matter forms world. Each Aboriginal painting relates to a particular artist's Dreaming, and as a result has a sense of feeling for a specific place.

Yanardilyi (Cockatoo Creek) 1930s
Acrylic paintng on carvas
Photo by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

Yanardilyi (Cockatoo Creek) 1930s
One part of Yanarlilyi
Acrylic paintng on carvas
Photo by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

Yanardilyi (Cockatoo Creek) is one of my favourite paintings in South Australian Museum. The painting contains the power and beauty of these artists' own Dreamings. I am attracted to the vividly colors and brightly dots painting. The footprint and symbols leads me into their mysterious and colorful world. I start to hear it, feel it.

My understanding from these paintings helped by the brief introduction and guidance of each art works, including: the content of the work, authors and place area. It can, these picture shows that in the Australian indigenous ‘Dreaming’ period of myth and legend story. Indigenes thought that the ‘Dreaming’ period is the whole world of beginning, and the sky, the earth, human and everything was born in this. Their understanding of the nature to reflect in the aboriginal art and it always become the theme of the description for the indigenous painting art.

By combining these collections of Australian Aboriginal art works in the museum, I found the aboriginal art works remains highly appreciation of the value and understanding. By comparing with traditional aboriginal art works, the traditional aftists don't have total artistic freedom, for he or she must only paint Dreamings of which their particular family has custoday. Nowadays, the contemporary desert paintings are not only related to their life, religions and stereotyping, it mostly reflects their own sentiments and inner thoughts. These paintings are resonant with meaning since they are renderings of artists’ personal dreaming. It must surely be that desert paintings are so distinctive and different. Each one is unique. On the basis of remained the style of the traditional aboriginal paintings, the contemporary indigenous artists put much more vivid colors in the art works that bring to people in visual impact. In the contemporary indigenous paintings, gorgeous color allows us to better understand what the artists express the artistic conception. It is not only lies in the painting arts, also demonstrated in their contemporary indigenous carving and etc. Art has been integrated into aboriginal blood. Not only for the all area of life, painted on the weapons is which highly artistic value.

Photo by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

During the visit in South Australia Museum, one which catches my eye is aboriginal body adornment which is abundant. For instance, they used wood, cutting and carving animals’ bones and decorated with bird feathers, shells, mice to make beautiful necklace, bracelet, armlet, waist decoration and etc. They made some decoration from collections goods in their lives. It is characteristic and unique. Among them, the smallest carving decoration is the pearl shell. They carved some beautiful patterns on the polishing surface of the shell and colored it red. Probably In the special ceremony, these small pearl shells are embedded on the scarves and pendants as ornaments. Therefore, one of the ornaments caught my attention. It is made of pearl shell and engraved with a complex interlocking key design around concentric diamond shapes. The incised human-like figure is filled with red ochre. I'm curious that what they wanted to express. I guess it would be a joy or a certain symbolic meaning. Some of indigenes think that it is magical, so they often carve them into various shapes for people to wear.

Acrylic Paintings on surface of Shields 
Photos by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

Aboriginal art works touched my heart to a great extent; I read what they brought with them beautiful dreams for life and religion. From the rock art, totem and some other paintings, I could see that indigenes momently regard every detail from their life. I especially like indigenous dot painting, which is a very unique way of expression. They used very simple dots and lines to sketch plants, animals, human and other what they imagined. Although they need to take more pains, they are happy, industrious with their art works. Artist was painting combined with humming a song in his own language that is cheerful. They were seeking their dreams and the inspiration of the art in joy.


Body Adornments 
Conch Necklaces 
Made of conches and strings 
Photos by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

Body Adornment 
Pearl Shell Ornament 
Made of pearl shells and strings, carved patterns and colored it.
Photos by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

Body Adornments 1954s   
Left: Seeds pendant
Made of seeds and strings 
Right: Feather pendant 
Made of feathers and strings
Used in Pukumani Ceremonies 
Photos by Yan SUN
South Australian MuseumAdelaide

A mass of written narrative and videos helps me understand their particular cultural and artistic background. Their thoughts are warm and honest. I have more interest in the Australia aboriginal culture and art and I’m getting to grips with their life-style and artistic thought.

Ancients made a great contribution to Art. During this visit, I drew some inspiration and design creation from the aboriginal culture, history and art that inspired me to explore and think deeply the true meaning of art.

Songlines and Dreamings - Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Painting
Edited by Nigel Corbally Stourton
Source: The Interpretation of Desert Paintings, p.22
Published in 1996 by Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd
Source: Poetic justice: An overview of indigenous art - Ken Watson, pp. 17-27 
Published by: ART GALLERY OF NSW
Songlines and Dreamings - Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Painting
Edited by Nigel Corbally Stourton
Source: The Mythology of Dreamings, p.20
Published in 1996 by Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd
Aboriginal Material Culture - South Australian Museum