If you’re looking for Aboriginal art galleries, Sydney has many: traditional, dot, modern acrylic and much more. I’ve picked two of the best of the inner west galleries for you here.
Acrylic paintings are good to buy as they can be rolled for easy transporting as checked or hand luggage. GST (VAT/sales tax) paid can be claimed back at the airport before you leave. All galleries will ship to your home address if you don’t want to carry your purchase with you.
Do visit the AGNSW before you start your looking-to-buy. Get your benchmarks there.
Modern Aboriginal Art
One of the more light-filled Aboriginal art galleries, with a floor dedicated to investment quality art, the Kate Owen Gallery at 680 Darling Street, Rozelle in Sydney’s inner west also encourages you to discuss the art over a glass of wine.
Kate Owen is a painter. She developed a lasting fascination for Aboriginal art and today she shares it through her Sydney art gallery.
Here’s what I liked about it:
- It’s a big area, so you’ll see things well spaced out, letting you focus on one painting at a time
- You can wander through this stylish gallery, glass of wine in hand, getting exactly as much input from the helpful staff as you want or need, and no more.
- Every Sunday afternoon at 1500 (3pm) there’s a free talk “Behind the Scenes in the Aboriginal Art World” (booking required). Be entertained and learn too.
- Kate has lots of reference materials, including computers just for clients’ use, to let you discover more works by, or more about, any artist you’re interested in
Kate Owen Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 1100 to 1800 (11 am to 6 pm).
It is a member of the Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association, established to promote the ethical trade of indigenous art.
And here are some important questions to ask when you’re buying contemporary Aboriginal art
Fine Aboriginal Art and More
Aboriginal art galleries are not all the same. Across Victoria Road you’ll discover a different style of gallery altogether. Tali Gallery, at 134 Victoria Road Rozelle, Sydney Australia, carries everything from large investment quality pieces to smaller items that you can take home in your carry-on luggage.
It has a friendly, informal and earthy atmosphere.
Tali is a multi award-winning gallery that works closely with Aboriginal Art Centres throughout Australia.
Aboriginal owned and managed art centres authenticate all their artists’ paintings. They also determine the price of the work, with the retail gallery having little room for adjustment. This business model provides the maximum return to the Aboriginal artist and the community.
Buying from Aboriginal art galleries that receive their art directly from these art centres is one of the best guarantees you can have that the proceeds are directly returned to the artist and the community. See Aboriginal art facts for more details on how this works.
Tali gallery draws its art almost exclusively from many of these art centres, located in all parts of Australia. This gives you a very broad range of styles to choose from. The Gallery also supports young and established urban artists.
Contemporary and traditional Aboriginal paintings, and limited edition fine art prints, are its main focus. Yet Tali is a also treasure trove of every other sort of Australian Aboriginal artwork that you can imagine. There’s everything from bark paintings and hollow logs to batik and kiln fired glass.
Its gift shop also carries homewares of every sort, jewellery and fashion accessories. There are skin care products with native ingredients, children’s games and wooden puzzles adorned with Aboriginal art. Bush foods offer unusual taste treats.
Another thing that impressed me here was the range of fibre and textile artworks.
You’ll see fabulous pandanus Yawk Yawks – young female water spirits with mermaid-like tails.
Mats, baskets, bush creatures and dillybags are dotted around everywhere. And there are plenty of wooden spirit sculptures – Mimihs and Wandurrks – as well.
Tali gallery is very involved with the local indigenous arts community.
Di gives talks to school groups and is is a fount of information about Aboriginal culture and art. Engage her in conversation and she’ll tell you some remarkable things.
The gallery supports a number of ongoing Aboriginal educational programs. From time to time it hosts guest artists who give demonstrations and lead workshops in the gallery’s paved back yard.
And it’s one of the Aboriginal art galleries that regularly participates in Art Month, one of Sydney’s premier March events.
Tali Gallery is open 1100 to 1800 (11 am to 6 pm) 7 days a week.
Aboriginal Art Galleries Virtual View Service
In both of these Aboriginal art galleries you can send or bring a digital image of the wall in the room where you plan to hang your painting. The gallery can then show you images of the painting you like hanging on that wall. It’s great for letting you see how it will look when you get it home.
Di, at Tali gallery, took me through an example of what they’d done for one of their clients. I was amazed at how quickly you could see whether the shape and colour of the piece worked in the room. So bring a digital image of your space with you and you’ll be sure that what you buy will work its magic in that spot.
Transporting Aboriginal Art Work
Traditional Aboriginal art probably started with sand, rock and body painting using natural materials such as ochre, charcoal, pipe clay, feathers, sticks and stones.
Today most Aboriginal art is painted with acrylic paints, which makes transport a snap.
You can happily roll them up to take them home. Once you’re back home just have them stretched over a frame and they’re ready to hang. Easy. So ignore the junk souvenirs and remember your Sydney Australia holiday with something unique you’ve chosen from one of our Aboriginal art galleries. It will be very special.
If you can’t make time to visit these Aboriginal art galleries, and the city and inner east is closer, here’s more Aboriginal art posters and paintings there.
If you’re searching for a work by local artists, you may find the Boomalli collective’s Aboriginal art gallery just the thing.