List of Australian Indigenous art movements and cooperatives

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Australian Indigenous art movements and cooperatives have been central to the emergence of Indigenous Australian art. Whereas many western artists pursue formal training and work as individuals, most contemporary Indigenous art is created in community groups and art centres.[1]

The following external sites are links to some of the Aboriginal-owned and -operated art cooperatives. These cooperatives reflect the diversity of art across Indigenous Australia from the north west region where oscachre is significantly used; to the tropical north where the use of cross-hatching prevails; to the Papunya style of art from the central desert cooperatives. Art is increasingly becoming a significant source of income and livelihood for some of these communities.

Peak groups[edit]

These are organisations that represent, or include, a number of Indigenous art cooperatives.

  • Aboriginal Art Organisation
  • ANKAAA: Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists - peak advocacy and support agency
  • Desart: Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Centres

Indigenous art movements and cooperatives[edit]

There is a wide range of art centres. They are all Indigenous-owned and/or controlled and are all not-for-profit organisations or, in a few cases, companies owned by the artists (Papunya Tula; Jirrawun Arts). The oldest is Ernabella Arts, formed in 1948. The largest by sales in 2006 were Papunya Tula and Warlayirti.[2]

Name of centre Location or nearest town Year established Major artists associated with centre
Aboriginal Australia Art and Culture Centre Alice Springs, Northern Territory 1973
Bima Wear Nguiu, Bathurst Island, Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory 1969
Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative Sydney, NSW 1987 Bronwyn Bancroft, Michael Riley, Harry Wedge
Bula'Bula Arts Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory 1990
Elcho Island Art and Craft Elcho Island, Northern Territory 1992
Ernabella Arts Uluru, Northern Territory 1948
Hermannsburg Potters Hermannsburg, Northern Territory not known
Ikuntji Haast's Bluff, NT 1992 Daisy Jugadai Napaltjarri, Molly Jugadai Napaltjarri
Injalak Arts Gunbalanya, Northern Territory 1989 Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek, Jimmy Namarnyilk, England Banggala, Glen Namundja, Graham Badari, Gabriel Maralngurra, Isaiah Nagurrgurrba
Irrunytju Arts not known not known Yannima Tommy Watson
Iwantja Arts Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, South Australia 1995[3]
Jirrawun Arts Wyndham, Western Australia not known Paddy Bedford, Freddy Timms
Keringke Arts Santa Teresa, Northern Territory 1989
Mangkaja Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia early 1980s
Maningrida Arts Maningrida, Northern Territory not known John Mawurndjul
Maruku Arts Uluru, Northern Territory 1984
Mimi Arts Katherine, Northern Territory not known Bill Yidumduma Harney
Papunya Tula Northern Territory 1972 Anatjari Tjakamarra, Eileen Napaltjarri, Tjunkiya Napaltjarri, Makinti Napanangka, Pansy Napangardi, Timmy Payungka Tjapangati, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Doreen Reid Nakamarra, Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri
ProppaNOW Brisbane, Queensland 2002 Richard Bell
Titjikala Titjikala, Northern Territory not known
Tjanpi Aboriginal Baskets - Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjarra Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Central Australia (Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia) 1995
Tiwi Designs Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory 1968
Tiwi Island Artists Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory 1998[4]
Utopia Alice Springs, Northern Territory 1985 Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Minnie Pwerle, Gloria Petyarre, Kudditji Kngwarreye, Lena Pwerle, Greeny Purvis Petyarre, Betty Mbitjana, Jeannie Mills Pwerle, Abie Loy Kemarre, Kathleen Petyarre
Waralungku Arts Boroloola, Northern Territory 2003
Warlukurlangu Artists Yuendumu, Northern Territory 1985 Sheila Brown Napaljarri, Helen Nelson Napaljarri, Norah Nelson Napaljarri, Shorty Jangala Robertson, Liddy Walker, Dorothy Napangardi, Paddy Japanangka Lewis, Paddy Japaljarri Sims, Paddy Japaljarri Stewart, Mary Anne Nampijinpa Michaels
Warmun Art Centre Warmun (Turkey Creek, Western Australia) 1998 Shirley Purdie
Waringarri Aboriginal Arts Kununurra, Western Australia early 1980s
Warlayirti Artists Balgo, Western Australia 1987 Susie Bootja Bootja Napaltjarri, Takariya Napaltjarri, Topsy Gibson Napaljarri
Yirrkala (Buku-Larrngay Arts) Yirrkala, Northern Territory not known


  1. ^ Wright, Felicity and Morphy, Frances 1999-2000. The Art & Craft Centre Story. Canberra: ATSIC (3 vols).
  2. ^ Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, [1]. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, June 2007.
  3. ^ The centre's predecessor, Indulkana Arts Association, was established in the 1970s. Iwantja Arts, About us, retrieved 8 March 2009]
  4. ^ Formed as a network of three pre-existing art organisations

External links[edit]