Roadtest: Aboriginal art on show

Purchasing an artwork is one way to start learning about Indigenous traditional and contemporart arts, as well as some of the most influential artists living in Australia (and in Sydney’s Inner West) today. Local galleries have so much to offer.

Jeffrey Samuels’ ‘The Cube Invisible and Triangle’ at Boomalli
Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative

Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative was established in 1987, and stands as the most significant gallery in the Inner West with member artists including the internationally renowned Euphemia Bostock, Fiona Foley, Tracey Moffatt, Blak Douglas and Bronwyn Bancroft.

The co-operative was founded to challenge misconceptions about urban-based Aboriginal artists, and has had massive ripple effects into Australian contemporary art. The gallery is Aboriginal run, promoting artists whose language groups exist in NSW boundaries. Boomalli hosts frequent exhibitions and is open 11am -4pm Wednesday to Sunday.

55 – 59 Flood Street, Leichhardt;

Tali Gallery

Tali Gallery runs through the Art Centre model, sourcing pieces from 25 Aboriginal-owned art centres around Australia, as well as local Aboriginal artists who the gallery represents. Tali Gallery ensures the ethical sourcing and fair payment of royalties to artists and is also involved in Indigenous Scholarship and Indigenous Literacy Foundation fundraising. They won the Pauline McLeod Reconciliation Award in 2013.

The gallery has paintings, prints, and affordable craft and gifts. Open from 11-6 Tuesday to Friday; 10.30am-4pm Saturdays.

134 Victoria Road, Rozelle;

Mulapa Aboriginal Art

Judi Muller of Balmain decided to have a change of career, setting up a gallery in her home after visiting Aboriginal artists in the western and central deserts of Australia. Mulapa means “really” or “true” in Pitjantjatjara, a language commonly spoken in this region. Mulapa features the works of artists who are part of Aboriginal-owned art centres in Alice Springs, Utopia, Papunya Tula and Warlukurlangu and some works from private dealers.

Rather than visiting a gallery, Mulapa encourages those interested in purchasing art to ‘try-on’ pieces in their own home. Mulapa also hosts ‘Arty Parties’ for groups interested in Aboriginal art.


Oz Aboriginal

Oz Aboriginal offers original fine art pieces as well as a range of giftware, fashion items and homewares printed with Aboriginal art (with licensing agreements to ensure the original artist receives royalties). Working with 15 art centres and local artists, Oz Aboriginal’s line of products all include labeling that identifies the artist, location as well as an explanation of the items’ story.

Aadil Jan, one of Oz Aboriginal directors, has set up a Cross Cultural fair trade project between Kashmiri and Aboriginal artists to create a unique line of homeware and giftware. You can visit Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 2pm or shop online.

222 Georges River Road, Croydon Park;

Images: Sharon Hickey, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative