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Regions and Communities



Map of Regions and Communities

This map shows the main regions of Australia where Aboriginal artists are working actively. Artists working in urban centres are spread across the country (particularly in the larger east coast cities and towns) and their locations are not explicitly identified.

Traditionally there were large variations in the style, symbols and materials used in the production of art in different regions of Australia. This diversity included bark paintings and wooden sculptures with intricate cross-hatched designs, delicate engravings on pearl shell in the West Kimberley, symbol-based sand and body designs of the Central and Western Desert, engraved rock in Tasmania and rock art in Cape York and central Queensland.

For more information about these regions, and communities within them, click on the regions shown or on the navigation bar at the left of this page. The Tiwi Islands, for which we give a detailed description, are located in the Top End and Arnhem Land section.

Featured Region: the KimberleyFeatured Region: The Kimberley

The Kimberley region is a vast and sparsely inhabited region in the north of Western Australia. It has a rich Aboriginal prehistory with magnificent rock art galleries and some of the oldest dated archaeological sites in Australia. The landscape is magnificent - huge rivers snake across the ancient landscape and cut deep gorges in the orange and red hills. Remnant pockets of rainforest draw life from the moisture and shelter in these gorges while out in the aridity of the surrounding woodland and stone country, the boab tree reaches to the sky with its distinctive profile.

Along the coast, strange rock formations rise up from the tidally turbulent sea. This country is home to a number of Aboriginal cultures and languages - the place where the Wandjina creator beings shaped the landscape. In numerous rock galleries, images of the Wandjina look out across the land. In other places, or sometimes together with the Wandjina, the gwion gwion images are found.
Kimberley Coast
The north Kimberley coast in the Wet season

Take our visual tour of the Kimberley - land of the Wandjina and the gwion gwion.

Seasons in the Top EndTiwi Islands and Arnhem Land

The Top End, as the northern-most part of the Northern Territory is known, is extremely diverse in landscape, culture and language. Each month we present a scene and description from Arnhem Land or the Tiwi Islands.

In December, awe inspiring displays of lightning occur right across the Top End, accompanied by deafening thunder, violent gusts of wind, and rapid downpourings of rain - signs of energy and violence in the atmosphere.

The arrival of the winds and rain of the wet season are a welcome relief from the oppressive heat and humidity of the "build up" over the previous two months.

Lightning strike
Lightning strike over the sea

Aboriginal Art Centres

Art centres play a vital role in the cultural and artistic life of communities. In our page on Aboriginal Art Centres, the role and history of these organisations is briefly described, and links given to find the contact details of nearly 50 centres in central and northern Australia.


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