First Nations People of Australia have been telling their stories and about their connection to the land, sea, and animals through art for thousands of years.
Aboriginal art is as varied as the many cultures in NSW. Visit one of these galleries to gain a deeper understanding of the art and culture specific to the people from the country of the Dabee Wiradjuri People in the Central West to the People of the Yuin Nation on the South Coast. All galleries are Aboriginal owned with profits going directly to artists.
The Blak Markets, run by First Hand Solutions, is a vibrant event where attendees can directly connect with Aboriginal artists and makers from across the state. The event is held regularly in The Rocks, as well at other various locations throughout the year, most notably at Bare Island, La Perouse, a significant place for the Bidjigal People. Along with the market, the event also incorporates a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, workshops on weaving and spear making, didgeridoo ceremonies and cultural dance performances. Many of the businesses integrate their stories into their products and artworks, and it's a great way to connect to artists directly.
The same organisation also runs the National Indigenous Art Fair at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Check the website for dates of markets.
Guluu Gallery - Rylstone
Dabee Wiradjuri artist Peter Swain opened in 2020 with his partner, curator and artist Jo Albany. Spread across two locations on the country of the Dabee People of the Wiradjui Nation, visit the gallery in Rylstone and studio in Kandos to find paintings, sculptures and cultural artefacts by Swain and local Aboriginal artists. Swain also teaches boomerang making as well as how to play and craft a didgeridoo; after playing the instrument his whole life, Swain has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about sharing Aboriginal culture.
Wupa@Wanaruah – Hunter Valley
Representing those who reside on the land of the Wanaruah People, or the Hunter Valley area, Wupa@Wanaruah consists of an online gallery and self-guided trail. The trail includes the Crowne Plaza, Mercure Resort, Hunter Valley Resort and Drayton’s Family Wines, where you can enjoy a wine tasting after viewing the art. Some of the artists included are Saretta Fielding, who works across different mediums and explore the themes of family connection, relationships, and Australia’s beauty; Denise Hedges, who has been painting for many years and whose works are alive with colour and symbolism, reflecting her connection to the land; and Les Ahoy, whose paintings depict stories of his Nunawunna clan.
Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery – Kempsey
Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery is housed in the Val Melville Centre in Kempsey; a building designed by renowned architect Glen Murcutt. It offers a wonderful introduction to the work of artists living and working on the Dunghutti Lands of the Macleay Valley region. The gallery is open seven days a week, with an ever-changing, eclectic selection of artworks and merchandise available for viewing and sale. Through a Purchase and Lend Scheme, the gallery has commissioned local artists to create artworks that will remain in the gallery’s permanent collection as well as being lent out to not-for-profit organisations in the community.
Giriwa Garuwanga Art Gallery – Ulladulla
The opens on weekdays and is run by the Ulladulla Local Aboriginal Land Council and represents artists living and working on the Yuin Nation. Rather than holding exhibitions, artists drop off work as they make them, and you can often find them in the gallery for a chat. Find small canvases, local books by Traditional Custodians of the land, woodworks, and clothing by artists such as Uncle Tom Butler, Lea Brook, Taylor Carriage and Uncle Barry Carriage.
Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery – Coffs Harbour
The Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery represents Gumbaynggirr artists on the mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers region, you’ll be able to get to know the local artistic community with a roster of exhibitions. The Sharing Stories exhibition showcases the works of nine Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung, Dunghutti and Anaiwan artists, sharing their stories and Dreaming in fine arts. Throughout the year, workshops are held at the gallery – in the past they’ve held weaving workshops and the ‘Elders yarn and lingo’ on language.
Gawura Gallery – Glen Innes
The home of internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artist Lloyd Gawura Hornsby, the Gawura Gallery also hosts exhibitions of emerging and established Indigenous artists. Hornsby’s work covers Yuin dreaming stories, Aboriginal history and his personal journey, where the natural and supernatural world become one as they are in traditional stories. A recent installation by Lloyd Hornsby and artist Sarah Fletcher reflects stories important to Ngoorabul Country and Glen Innes, depicting Aboriginal figures and symbols, as well as a farmer with his dog and sheep and the Town Hall, promoting harmony between cultures. Exhibitions change every eight weeks and there is an on-site cafe.
Armidale Cultural Centre & Keeping Place
Part of the Armidale & Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place (ACCKP), the two galleries on site represent artists of the Anaiwan, Kamilaroi, Dainggatti, Ngarabal, Banbai, Gumbainggier and Bigambul Nations. The centre also has a collection of artefacts and donated artworks for educational purposes. Exhibitions change every two or three months; a recent example was Heart and soul by Biripi artist Leonard Smith and Thunghutti art by Walcha artist Tyler Stackman. Gallery tours are available, that provide an in-depth cultural explanation of the pieces; once a fortnight a tour is available with the artist themselves who will take guests through the process of making the exhibition.
Come and explore the Blak Markets
Come and explore the Blak Markets
The Blak Markets is a vibrant event where attendees can directly connect with Aboriginal artists and makers from across the state. The event is held up to eight times a year at various locations, most notably at Bare Island, La Perouse, a significant place for the Bidjigal People.