Aboriginal Australians communicated using two distinct methods. They used both oral and visual communication to convey information. These included drawings and paintings as well as ceremonial design.
Many people’s survival depended on their ability to remember where they could find food and water at different times of the year when there was no written language. Maps depicting significant geographical features are common subjects for the work of many Aboriginal artists. Even though they have never flown, they frequently employ an aerial point of view in their writing.
Aboriginal artwork in Australia is primarily religious, or at least has religious overtones. Artwork depicting sacred ancestor figures, totemic plants or animals, and creation stories from a long-ago period known as the Dream Time can be found on rocks, sands, clay patterns, on human bodies, on tree bark, and now on canvas. There is no written language in this society, so the art is a mixture of the Western sense of hymn book/map/biography/illustration.
Over the past 20 years, the value of Australian and Aboriginal artwork has steadily increased due to a shift in public perception. First, modern Aboriginal art emerged, and then a new market emerged in the second half of the twentieth century. In the 1980s, the prices of colonial art soared, whereas indigenous art didn’t reach its peak until the early 2000s.
Both recessions hit high-end markets, but overall market values continued to rise. Both new and older Aboriginal artworks are being recognised for their excellence, and this trend is expected to continue. Names and their works continue to rise in value as the market matures. Know more about the past and present of aboriginal art scenario on www.aboriginal-art-australia.com
The Australian economy gains $100 million annually from the sale of Aboriginal art. One can make an impressive amount of money by bidding on original Aboriginal artworks sold at an auction.
A record was broken when Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s painting Earth’s Creation I sold for the highest price ever paid for a work by an Australian female artist despite her short career in painting.
The contemporary work of art sold for a whopping $2.1 million, shattering its previous record of $1.05 million set in 2007. At the Cooee Art Marketplace and Fine Art Bourse’s online auction, Tim Olsen, an art dealer in New York, won the piece for his newly opened gallery.
Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, an Aboriginal artist, born in a dried-up creek bed on Anmatyerre land and became the most famous of his generation, was awarded the Order of Australia and hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace (famously in morning suit and painted sandshoes). In 1998, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London held a major survey of his work from the midpoint of his career.
The Commonwealth Bank purchased Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s Warlugulong for AUD 1,200 in 1977. The bank sold the painting in 1996 for 36,000 Australian dollars. The National Gallery of Australia paid AUD 2.4 million  for it in a Sotheby’s auction in July 2007, making it the most expensive Aboriginal painting ever sold.
Also, Water Dreaming by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula reportedly sold for $150 in 1973. The painting was sold for $486,500 in 2000, a 3,243 per cent increase in just 27 years.
Tommy Lowry Tjapaltjarri’s most celebrated work, Two Men Dreaming at Kuluntjarranya, 1984, is also on display as part of this travelling exhibition (lot 51, estimate: £167,000 -251,000). Collectors regard it as one of the movement’s most aesthetically pleasing and exceptional paintings, and it has been shown in two of the field’s most prestigious exhibitions: Dreamings,
Bunglullgi, a masterpiece of Rover’s minimalist style, was painted in 1989. The east Kimberley, shows the contours of the hilly terrain near the Argyle Diamond Mine exit. In the shape of a big toe, the rock at the top left represents a Dreamtime man who waited too long for his dogs and became a rock.
The essence of these hills is perfectly captured in this sparsely composed work. Winding cattle trails and the Argyle Mine’s access routes are depicted using natural earth pigments.
Aborigines are the only Australian citizens who are rarely seen in galleries and salesrooms selling this exciting and expensive art. In 1967, these early Australian settlers were granted citizenship in the country they had lived in for up to 60,000 years.
The 410,000 Australians who identify as Aboriginal have the lowest average income, the shortest life expectancy, and the worst health of any Australians. At this point, it may be considered a Dream Time miracle that their art has not only survived but thrived and is celebrated all over the world.
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