NGV Australia – Indigenous Artists


The “National Gallery of Victoria’s “Ian Potter Centre”, part of the Federation Square complex is

The home of Australian art, presenting Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day.

The galleries on the ground floor are devoted to works by Indigenous artists – all relatively recent contemporary works. Although I certainly enjoyed looking around the galleries on the other two floors, I found these works particularly interesting. It’s quite rare to see “Aboriginal” art works in Europe, other than in museums where they might be displayed as examples of indigenous Australian culture. It’s certainly unusual to see anything by contemporary indigenous artists. So this collection was a bit of an eye opener showing that there was a thriving contemporary indigenous art culture in Australia.


Most of the works employed traditional styles, which are abstract and representational rather than figurative. There was much use of coloured dots and cross hatching (known as ‘Rarrk’) and  traditional media, such as tree bark, and materials. However, many of the works employed modern materials such as acrylics and canvas and in some cases employed modern technology such as photography and computer graphics. The works themselves, although used traditional approaches and ideas, were imaginative and built on these to create  imaginative modern works.

These are just some of the works on display that I particularly liked.




Rockholes and country near Kata Tjuta 2007 by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri


Possum-skin coat: Black fellow road 2011-13 by Lorraine Connelly-Northey


Spirit dreaming through Napperby country 1980 by Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri


Arulya 2012 by Tjulkiwa Atira Atira Pitjantjatjara


Wati Ngintaka 2011 by Bernard Tjalkuri


Pink and white painting 2010 by Nyapanyapa Yunupingu


Gurtha 2012 by Barrupu Yunupingu Gumatj


Anwerlarr anganenty (Big yam Dreaming)1995 by Emily Kame Kngwarreye


Light painting 2010-11 by Nyapanyapa Yunupingu .


This is an animated work displayed on a computer screen. 110 individual drawings created from white pen on acetates have been uploaded and are displayed one by one on the screen, changing slowly and each drawing dissolving into the next.

The gallery also had the original acetates on display

Untitled (drawings for Light painting) 2010-11 by Nyapanyapa YunupinguDSC03011

There were many more excellent works on display and I went away determined to learn more.


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