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
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.
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.
The north Kimberley coast
in the Wet season
Take our visual
tour of the Kimberley - land of the Wandjina and
the gwion gwion.
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
Lightning strike over the sea
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.