Artist of the Month – Aboriginal Art of Australia

Untitled, by Mick NAMARARI TJAPALTJARRI, Pintupi people, Australia 1926 – 1998, from the R G Kimber collection of 15 early Papunya paintings, made in Papunya, Western Desert, Northern Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas board
Dimensions: 71.0 h x 55.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1989
Accession No: NGA 89.1929.13
Image rights: © the estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd

Students in Transitional Kindergarten through 8th grade will learn more about this artist in a lesson taught this month by a parent volunteer through our Art Literacy program.

Australia’s traditional Indigenous art, or art of the First Nations People, is now recognized as the oldest continuing artistic movement in the world.  For a thousand generations, Australian First Nations People recorded their mythology in rock, sand and body paintings. In 1970, these images began to make their way onto canvas, attracting the notice of the rest of the world.  Robert Hughes of Time magazine called these paintings “the last great art movement of the 20th century.”

For traditionally oriented Indigenous Australians, art is part of their broader system of religious beliefs, known in English as The Dreaming . This system of beliefs is grounded in the earth itself.  As a consequence traditional art relates back to the land, and is culturally and spiritually rich.