On a recent hot and humid December weekend, we hosted our fifth Aboriginal art market in Canberra. Despite the heat, the events reputation for bringing quality artworks from remote parts of Australia to the National Capital meant the crowds flocked to pick up a pre-Christmas bargain.
This year we invited four remote Aboriginal community art centres to take part, the largest market yet! The art centres involved were Djilpin Arts from Beswick, Ikuntji Artists from Haasts Bluff, Warnayaka Art Gallery from Lajamanu and Warlukurlangu Artists of Yuendumu.
They sold original handmade art, jewellery, scarves, picnic rugs, key rings, Christmas decorations, tea pots and phone covers. Prices ranged from small affordable Christmas gifts, to large high end pieces for board rooms and offices.
It’s not often this style of Indigenous art is so easily accessible for us here in Canberra. Normally you’d have to travel thousands of kilometres to visit these centres to be lucky enough to access such amazing works.
Each artwork came with a certificate of authenticity which included a biography of the artist and an explanation of the story portrayed in the works. Each dot or line told part of an Aboriginal story.
As part of the visit, our team took some of the Aboriginal employees from the art centres for a tour of AIATSIS. This involved providing access to our giant photographic database which holds over 230,000 images from around the country and is growing every day.
During his tour Neil Jupurrula Cooke from Warnayaka Art Gallery saw photos of his old school teacher from 1977 who also taught his father Henry Jupurrula Cooke to hang glide.