“I feel with my body. Feeling all these trees, all this country. When this blow you can feel it. Same for country... you feel it, you can look, but feeling... that make you.”
– Big Bill Neidjie, Gagudju Elder, Kakadu.
The origins of our art gallery, and now our art-driven interiors collection, is a long-standing personal and professional connection with Central Desert artists. Theirs is an arid land with extensive dry seasons, which is the birthplace of what is sometimes called 'Aboriginal desert painting,' at the forefront of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement.
"The chief function of colour should be to serve expression as well as possible."
Henri Matisse, from "Notes of a Painter"
Within the indigenous Australian cultures and traditions, the artist holds a sacred individual freedom to engage with their own Dreamtime and connection with country, to express a facet of life through a personal choice of brushstroke and form and colour – all the while anchored within the inherited horizon of a collective dream. The use of colours in the contemporary aboriginal art paintings reflect not only the Australian landscape but the world of their imagination, which encompasses past, present and future.
Alice Springs lies at the heart of this region, between the dramatic MacDonnell Ranges and the Todd River. It has historically been a place "crucial to the development of art and as a meeting place, place of exchange and part-time residence for people from the hundreds of Aboriginal communities throughout the central, northern, southern and western regions."* The resilient spirit of its communities, the role they play in political & cultural movements remains very much alive, notably with the iconic annual Desert Mob Art fair.
Throughout, the work of the indigenous artists we represent is a reflection of their personal engagement with a historical and deep spiritual affinity to the land, which they tell and re-tell through art to old and new audiences, layering creation myth upon botanical record, wisdom upon experience, colour upon colour.
*quote from McCulloch's very excellent Contemporary Aboriginal Art: The Complete Guide.