Aboriginal Art by Australian Aboriginal Artists, Quality Aboriginal Paintings for sale.  



Aboriginal art styles

Grass Seed


Many different grass varieties are found in the Utopia region. A reddish grass about fifteen centimetres high grows in the spinifex sand plains and sandhills. It is found throughout the year but is particularly abundant after rain, although it is not as plentiful since Europeans introduced cattle and rabbits to the land.
Grass seeds were once an important food source for Aboriginal people. The women would gather the seeds, then crush and grind them into a thick paste to make bread. In years past, grass seeds were collected in a most unusual way. Because seeds ripened at different stages, many would fall to the ground and be covered by sand, lost from view. Ingeniously the Aboriginal women would look for the nesting site of a particular ant species that they knew collected the seeds, eating a certain portion before discarding the rest in a pile outside the nest. Once the nest was found the women were able to collect the cast off seeds more easily.
Grass seeds remain an important subject matter for Utopia painters such as Barbara Weir even though the practice of gathering them to make bread is not as common today due to the ready availability of commercial flour. Barbara's dynamic 'Grass Seed' paintings are evocative of the shimmering fields of native grasses at Utopia and honour her Aboriginal elders' traditional ways of living on the land. She creates mesmerizing works of art depicting the tiny seeds through her fine mark making and stunning colour combinations.

The following artists paint in this style:

Barbara Weir


Aknangkere Growth

Gloria Petyarre created a new style of painting in 1988 at the Adelaide DACOU studio to depict a type of flora found in her country of Atnangkere that is located in the Utopia region. 'Atnangkere Growth' is an artistic extension of Gloria's well-known 'Bush Medicine Dreaming' in which she paints the leaves of a particular shrub with strong medicinal qualities that aid in healing. It has dense brownish green leaves and yellow flowers, and grows profusely in the sandy areas of Utopia.
In her 'Atnangkere Growth' series, Gloria represents the branches rather than the leaves of this shrub. The branches often cross over one another and can be so dense that the Aboriginal people have to burn a path to pass through them when hunting. She paints the intertwining foliage using uneven linear designs that appear to weave in and out of the canvas. To illustrate the density of the shrub and its wild profusion in the bush she creates layers with different acrylic colours. Between the lines she often splatters random drops of colour to mirror how the flowers bloom in a seemingly haphazard way.
Burning is a common practice in the outback and is essential to the regeneration of desert flora and bush tucker. Gloria portrays the burnt blackened areas of the bush by first painting a dark ground colour on the canvas that she then overlays with layers of bright colours to signal new growth and regeneration after fire.

The following artists paint in this style:

Gloria Petyarre


My Mother’s Country

Barbara Weir was born in the region of Utopia formerly known as Bundy River Station. Her mother, the late artist Minnie Pwerle, came from a region called Atnwengerrp at Utopia and it is this country that Barbara depicts in her paintings. Barbara's main inspiration is the Atnwengerrp women's ceremonies.
In the background of her paintings, Barbara often depicts the temporary campsites that her people made as they trekked across the country in search of food or the coolamans used by the women to collect wild fruits and berries. She sometimes shows the form of a woman’s body adorned with ochre pigments collected from the land in preparation for the ceremonies. Small or large semi-circular shapes represent hills and valleys, and the lines of dry river beds and streams wind across the canvas as they do at Utopia. There may also be an outline of a person or unusual shapes that convey Dreaming spirits that dwell in the plant and animal life.
Barbara overlays these drawings with a complex arrangement of dots that depict the diverse bush tucker found on the land. These include the bush yam, bush potato, bush berry, bush plum, bush banana and the ever-important grass seed that was once vital to the people’s survival. This particular edible grass seed was collected by the people and then cleaned and ground into a paste to form a bread called bush damper. Barbara may also paint an area with a dark colour to represent the path of a fire that has swept across the land that will generate new growth.

The following artists paint in this style:

Barbara Weir


Mountain Devil Dreaming

Aboriginal art style: Mountain devil dreaming

The 'Mountain Devil Dreaming' Aboriginal art style refers to the Thorny Devil Lizard that is found throughout Central Australia. The lizard is a small but fearsome looking creature that belies its harmless and placid nature. The 'thorny' skin protects the lizard from predators and creates an effective camouflage that allows it to blend easily into the environment, making it a very elusive creature to see and catch.
In Aboriginal Dreamtime creation stories, the Mountain Devil Lizard ancestor was given human characteristics as she went about her mythic tasks.  In the stories she collected and carried soft sandy ochres in a pouch located at the back of her neck that corresponds to the bumps on the back of the lizard, which is commonly seen at Utopia. As these female ancestral figures walked the land they deposited the ochres in small hills across the flat country, thus creating the sandhills of Atnangkere.
The Mountain Devil Lizard is one of the Gloria Petyarre and her sisters' Dreamings, and they paint the patterns and colours seen on the lizard's back that change when danger is near, making it virtually invisible in the environment.  They also paint the Mountain Devil Lizard awelye body painting designs and the pathways that the Mountain Devil Lizard Dreamtime ancestors took at Atnangkere.

The following artists paint in this style:

Gloria Petyarre


Bush Medicine Dreaming

'Bush Medicine Dreaming' paintings depict the leaves of a special medicinal plant found at Utopia. Aboriginal women still collect the leaves and boil them to extract their resin. This resin is then mixed with fat taken from a kangaroo's stomach to make a paste that can be stored for up to six months in the arid bush environment. It is used to heal cuts, wounds, bites and rashes, and also as an insect repellant.
Aboriginal artists such as Gloria Petyarre who paint 'Bush Medicine Dreaming' pay homage to the spirit of the medicine plant in the hope that it will successfully regenerate, thus enabling people to continue to use its healing powers.

The following artists paint in this style:

Gloria Petyarre


Women’s Ceremony – “Awelye”

Aboriginal art style: Womens ceremony

In Aboriginal culture, ceremonies are focal points in the life of the community. They are held for different purposes, but each is integral to the continuation of Aboriginal culture and vital to the happiness and well being of the people and the land. Particular dances and song cycles accompany each.  Women's awelye ceremonies are acknowledgments of their responsibilities for the land and their relationship to it. Men participate in powerful secret initiation ceremonies that are important rituals for the initiation of young men into adulthood. Increase ceremonies are performed by all to ensure the fertility of the land. 'Sorry business' is a heartrending ceremony of mourning for the passing of loved ones.
Women's awelye ceremonies are kept separate from men's ceremonies, but there is mutual respect as both genders demonstrate their kinship custodial connections to the land and their reverence for it.  The late Minnie Pwerle painted vibrant and animated awelye designs on all her canvases and it was also an important style of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Many Utopia women artists continue this important tradition.

For thousands of years Aboriginal people have prepared for ceremonies by smearing their bodies with animal fat and then tracing very particular ceremonial designs associated with the person's country and Dreamings on their body using a variety of powders, some ground from charcoal and ash, others from yellow and red ochres found on the land. The body painting designs vary and depend on the ceremony, the Dreaming, the seniority of each member and the time of year the ceremony is held. The most senior women of the clan group lead the singing and dancing that can go on for many days and nights.

The following artists paint in this style:

Gloria Petyarre


Scorpion Dreaming

Aboriginal art style: Scorpion dreaming

Freddie Purla has vivid childhood memories of the strange looking creature, the scorpion. 'Scorpion Dreaming' was passed down to Freddie by his grandmother's family. As the scorpion's sting is very painful, the scorpion is left undisturbed and respected at all times.  It is rarely seen during the day and only the desert sands display signs of the scorpion's tracks.
Purla's paintings represent the courtship between the male and female scorpion. During mating, the scorpions interlock their pincers together while moving across the sand for sometimes up to twenty-four hours in what can only be described as a dance.  The repeated criss-crossing creates an intricate design that is rare to find in the desert. Freddie's paintings powerfully represent the energy and vigour of the many movements made by the scorpions in their ritual desert dance.

The following artists paint in this style:

Freddy Purla


Awelye Atnwengerrp

Artist:
Minnie Pwerle
Size:
267x131cm
Code:
110195