Looking for a little art in your next getaway?
Whether its 60,000-year-old rock art, traditional Aboriginal bark painting, vibrant contemporary works or iconic Aboriginal artists, there is a huge selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art experiences on offer. Here’s our top 5 art experiences to get you inspired.
Hermannsburg Historic Precinct
The Hermannsburg National Trust Historic Precinct is a series of German-style whitewashed buildings that were constructed when the Lutheran Mission was originally established back in the late 1880's. Beyond the historic significance of the site, the Aboriginal settlement of Hermannsburg is bursting with art.
It was the home of iconic Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira. Namatjira's artwork are distinctive watercolours depicting the Australian landscape, he is recognised as one of Australia’s greatest artist and his work is on public display in some of Australia's major art galleries. There is a large collection of his works on display at Hermannsburg.
The precinct is also the home of the Hermannsburg Potters, who are renowned for their unique hand-built terracotta pots. The lids of these stunning works feature colourful sculpted animals, birds and bush and the pots themselves are painted with imagery inspired by the surrounding landscapes.
Tiwi By Design
The Tiwi Islands are located 80 kilometres north of Darwin in the Arafura Sea. Home to the friendly Tiwi people, the islands are known as 'the islands of smiles'. The tour is not only an opportunity to learn about Tiwi culture but also Tiwi art. The Tiwi people are internationally renowned for their individual style of art including carvings and bright textile designs. Prized by collectors, many Tiwi artists have exhibited around the world.
On this tour you will visit the Tiwi Design art centre and you'll experience an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ screen printing session with Tiwi artists. This tour gives you the unique opportunity to create your own Tiwi style art piece – a T-shirt, tea towel or length of fabric to take home with you as a special memento. You also have the opportunity to purchase unique and traditional Tiwi artworks including paintings, fabrics, carving, pottery and clothing at island prices.
Ku-ring-gai National Park Rock Art Tour
Discover rock art right on Sydney’s doorstep at World Heritage-listed Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. On the Ku-ring-gai National Park Rock Art Tour you will visit sites with stencil art and sandstone engravings, these sites are listed in the top 10 Australian Aboriginal rock art sites! There are several examples of large rock engravings with simple designs that are unique to the greater Sydney area, and are up to 5000 years old. Guringai Aboriginal Tours will illuminate the significance and culture of these unique sites. Your Aboriginal guide will explain the technique behind how this art is made leaving you with a greater understanding of this ancient art form.
Top Didj Cultural Experience and Art Gallery
More than just a cultural experience Top Didj offers the unique opportunity to learn about traditional bark painting from master artist Manuel Pamkal. Learn everything from harvesting methods and the intricate Rarrk or cross hatching style to the special reed brush called a Jalk used to paint the designs. You will also have the opportunity to paint your own bark painting under Pamkal’s expert guidance. Manuel will also explain the cultural significance of the designs which often reference a particular clan or dreamtime stories.
Five Day Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Cobourg Peninsula Tour
No art experience list would be complete without Kakadu. Kakadu is a living cultural landscape with World Heritage listed rock art sites throughout. Venture North on their Five Day Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Cobourg Peninsula Tour will take you to two spectacular sites Ubirr and Injalak Hill. One of the largest and most popular art sites in Kakadu, Ubirr has three main sites and the main gallery depicts local plants and animals in X-ray style and elements of the Dreaming. Injalak Hill has large and layer rock art dated between 100 and 8,000 years old. The main gallery is an extensive shelter depicting dreaming and contact art, when Aboriginal culture first interacted with Macassan, Chinese and European cultures.
Image Credit: Tourism Australia