Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art

Batik and printed textiles created by Aboriginal artists are an important art form and are highly regarded. Equally, fine woven fibre works are made for both functional and decorative purposes.

The traditional Javanese silk batik technique was introduced to the Pitjantjatjara women of Ernabella in 1972 and to the Anmatyerr and Alyawarr women of Utopia in the early 1980s. These groups from central Australia embraced the technique using their own cultural imagery often related to body painting and plant life. The delicate textiles, with their layered bands of translucent desert colours, skilfully capture the intensity and textured density of the local landscape.

Screenprinted fabrics from the south-east region and far north of Australia often use repetition to reinforce the significant cultural iconography of their specific region to create powerful designs.