Arts & culture,
Creative arts & culture
Where to buy authentic Aboriginal art on the Gold Coast
Kate Veling | July 4, 2022
Brighten up your living space and support Indigenous artists this NAIDOC week with our list of Gold Coast stores and galleries that sell authentic Aboriginal art.
In 2022, the theme for NAIDOC Week is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! It’s a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and a chance to acknowledge their history, culture and achievements. It’s also a great time for other Australians to think of ways in which we can stand alongside our local Indigenous communities as allies, advocates, equals and friends.
Buying authentic Aboriginal art is an excellent way to support local Indigenous artists. Whether visual arts, dance, music or traditional crafts such as weaving, when we can connect through creativity it fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal culture.
Indigenous artworks are highly valued for their visual beauty and their power to share stories and experiences of the people who create them. Many traditional styles use totems or Dreaming stories as inspiration – in learning about the artwork we can learn about the Aboriginal spiritual and cultural connection to the land.
Here are some galleries and retail spaces on Yugambeh-Kombumerri country where you can support Aboriginal artists and celebrate Indigenous culture by investing in some authentic Aboriginal art. You can use the Indigenous Art Code to ensure you’re buying ethically – it’s about respecting the world’s oldest living culture and ensuring a sustainable future for Aboriginal artists and their continuing culture.
Erica Eurell is the founder and owner of Dreamtime Artistry and a traditional custodian from the Yugambeh language group. Her shop in Griffith St, Coolangatta is home to a gorgeous array of Aboriginal arts and crafts, from paintings to carved timber products to beautifully woven baskets and unique gifts. As an Indigenous liaison officer at a local school, Erica sees first-hand how creative expression through culture can benefit young artists and a major purpose of Dreamtime Artistry is to support them in nurturing their talents. Erica is an artist herself and shares her culture through creative practice and connection to the community.
“I dabble in many types of Indigenous art, but my main focus is traditional weaving, where each piece I create reflects the many stories and teachings I’ve learnt from my elders,” she says.
“I run Indigenous weaving workshops, where I can help pass on this wonderful skill as it was passed on to me. The weaving is a perfect representation of our culture, how each strand or story, interlocks to create an item of purpose and beauty. Every piece created tells a unique story, so every time the technique is taught, that story is kept alive again.”
Along with the sales of arts and crafts, Dreamtime Artistry runs many indigenous teaching and educational workshops as well as services such as Welcome to Country, smoking ceremonies and storytelling. Erica believes that art can connect us to the past while looking forward to the future and achieving this through the eyes of our Indigenous youth is at the heart of Dreamtime Artistry’s mission to share their connection to Country.
Presenting fine Indigenous and traditional Australian art for sale, this gallery is for the serious art collector. Paintings by some of Australia’s most famous Aboriginal artists can be bought here. Online art shopping is available but make an appointment to visit in person for the chance to see some incredible pieces by artists such as Ningie Nangala, Short Robertson, William King, Mignonette Jamin, Minnie Pwerle and Jean Baptiste. Founder Robin Hunt is dedicated to supporting young Aboriginal artists through sponsoring educational opportunities for them to develop their creative talents.
Goompi Ugerabah at Gallery One
Minnie Pwerle at Talk About Town Gallery Downunder
Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre is where Gold Coast visitors and locals come to learn more about the Indigenous history and culture of the Yugambeh language group. Owned and operated by members of the local Aboriginal community, the centre houses a boutique art gallery and gift shop, with a colourful collection of authentic, original artworks.
Both emerging and established artists are represented, with canvases, didgeridoos, wearable art and homewares for sale. Local artists including Cara Shields, Steven Bekue, Melinda Cain, Marc Cora and Gus Kelly are represented on Jellurgal’s online gallery. Come in for a visit to the cultural centre to browse the gallery and you might meet one of the talented artists whose work is hung on the walls.
There are fascinating displays detailing characters and stories from Yugambeh history and artefacts like dilly bags, shields, boomerangs and other instruments that were part of every day life. Entry to the centre is free but you should definitely book in for a walking tour of Jellurgal (Burleigh National Park) led by a traditional owner. On a journey along the creek and through the rainforest, you’ll learn about cultural traditions and hunting practices of the old people here as well as the Dreamtime story of Jabreen. Their passion to preserve, promote and share Aboriginal culture makes for an inspiring and insightful experience.
Located at the Brickworks in Southport, this contemporary fine art gallery showcases works from award-winning Australian artists. Gallery One represents renowned Indigenous artists including the Ken Sisters – five sisters from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia, who work collaboratively on their vivid traditional artworks.
The gallery also represents Goompi Ugerabah – a renowned local Indigenous artist and song man of the Bundjalung Kunjiel, a traditional dance group that travels the world sharing Aboriginal culture through song and dance. Goompi’s paintings are inspired by Kombumerri country where he was born and raised. He sees the creative process of laying his culture out on canvas as much a spiritual practice as it is an artistic practice of storytelling. He records the story that inspires each of his paintings in text on the back of the canvas, creating an even deeper insight and connection into his Aboriginal culture.
If Goompi’s original works aren’t within your budget, you could purchase a tin of Matte Pomade from King Brown. The local men’s grooming brand has collaborated with Goompi on this product and his artwork ‘Yarunya Jarrah’ adorns the limited-edition tin. A percentage of online profits go towards the Firesticks Alliance, which in reinvigorating the practice of cultural burning for land management.
Gallery One supports their represented artists with a regular exhibition schedule. The current Ken Sisters exhibition runs from July 2 – 31, 2022 and a Goompi Ugerabah exhibition will run from August 13 – 31. Director, Leanne Pearce, and Gallery One Manager, Karen Spooner, are passionate about promoting Australian investment art. They provide an in depth consultation service to help you find the perfect artwork. Send them a photo of your space and they can provide mock ups of different paintings in situ so you can see what works with your interior.
One of the largest online galleries around, Art Lovers Australia will almost certainly have something that appeals. They represent a diverse bunch of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists including locals Lionel Phillips, Grace Brown and Luke Mallie. You can also check out the physical gallery at the Southport Brickworks.
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