Lifestyle & Culture > Australian Aboriginal Art Activity

Australian Aboriginal Art Activity

Published: April 30, 2009

There has been a recent surge of activity in Contemporary Australian Aboriginal art in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. This comes with an increase in public interest in the artists’ work and a corresponding increase in sales.

One major development is the publication by Arts Northern Rivers of the book, “A Special Kind of Vision”, with the support of the members of the Indigenous Artists Steering Committee – Albert Digby Moran, Patsy Nagas, Jacqui Williams, Les Evans, Karla Dickens, Garth Lena, Dennis Monks and Penny Evans. The book is a showcase of local, contemporary work both from emerging artists and those who are more nationally and internationally well-known. Twenty-six artists were selected for inclusion in the book. There was a related exhibition held throughout March at Retrospect Galleries, Byron Bay.

This follows the recent and very successful “Art of the Bundjalung Nation” exhibition, which displayed extensive Indigenous talent at Lismore City Hall from Friday 23rd – Monday 26th January, 2009, and the 2008 “Year of the Apology” exhibition held at Northern Rivers Community Gallery, Ballina.

Frances Belle Parker became Indigenous Arts Development Officer at Arts Northern Rivers in January 2008, having been a member of the Indigenous Art Advisory Group, and a highly regarded artist in her own right. She said the “Year of the Apology” exhibition was a way of introducing herself to the community from which around 52 artists exhibited. She said “There is definitely more happening, and there is also an increase in sales, but it has all been a long time in the making.”

Arts Northern Rivers is due to launch the new “3 Rivers Aboriginal Art Space” in mid June. Frances said that it is all “ready to go” with areas for screen-printing, forums, seminars and exhibition space.

In conjunction with D.E.W.H.A (Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) and the Australia Council, The Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct is being developed. The Code is designed to promote fair trade and ethical commercial practice in the Indigenous visual arts industry. A discussion paper has been developed and a consultation process will be held at 3 Rivers Aboriginal Art Space, 125 Magellan Street, Lismore, on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009.

Lismore Visitors Information Centre is also looking for Northern Rivers Indigenous artists to display their works from the week beginning May 4th, 2009. Details and further information on these events can be found at or or by phoning Arts Northern Rivers on (02) 66288120.

Artist Penny Evans, whose ceramics have been sold internationally, and who has exhibited extensively, including in the “Art of the Bundjalung Nation” and 2008 “Year of the Apology” exhibitions, and recent exhibitions at the Barratt Gallery, Alstonville, and The Northern Rivers Community Gallery agreed, “There is definitely increased activity, from my perspective”. Penny has been awarded the first “Artist in Residency” position at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery thanks to a Country Area Support Project grant, and will be holding four-day workshops for year 11 students from five Ballina High Schools during May.

There are some major competitions on the near horizon, as well as many upcoming exhibitions in galleries throughout the region.

Entries for this year’s National Parks and Wildlife Aboriginal Art Prize close on Friday, June 12th, with an exhibition of works being held at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina opening on Saturday, July 4th.

Entries for the Parliament of New South Wales Aboriginal Art Prize close June 26th, with the exhibition being held October 8th – November 5th, 2009.

For further information, see:

Northern Rivers Community Galleries are at 44 Cherry Street, Ballina. Ph (02) 66816167

Email or go to where you will find the gallery under the “Community and Lifestyle” heading.


1. storm76 on May 1, 2009

great to see!

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