Sarrita King's painting featured on THE BLOCK

It was very exciting for Sarrita the other night when one of her paintings was featured on THE BLOCK TV series.  Did anyone catch the episode?  Her painting "Earth Cycles" was selected to be used by Dan and Dani in the kitchen of the home that they are renovating, and it looked right a home as well.


Aboriginal Desert Artists

The desert is the currently home to some of the most important Aboriginal artists.  Whilst the majority of these artists use acrylic paint on canvas rather than the traditional ochres, they still paint sitting on the ground in the customary way creating works that reflect the traditions of a culture that still has relevance today.


The Aboriginal art market has become a worldwide phenomenon; each painting has a depth of knowledge that only someone who knows their subject so well is able to portray on canvas. 


In the late 1980’s early 1990’s people who purchased Aboriginal art often could be put into two groups, one who wanted to learn more about the culture of the indigenous people of this country and the other group who were straight-out art buyers

Now those groups have merged somewhat, the people that wanted to learn more about the culture of Aboriginal people became aware that they were also looking at amazing artworks.

Those who were only interested in the works as an art form are now also focusing on the stories behind the painting.  As one American buyer said to me with his first Aboriginal art purchase  “I’m not interested in the culture it’s just great art!” that particular art buyer became a passionate collector as he realized the combination of knowledge and artistic skills is what makes these paintings great.


The desert has many topographical features, apart from a huge area of desert sand there are grassy areas, mountain ranges, massive rock formations,  waterholes and springs that are all part of the sacred journeys and spiritual stories now depicted on canvas.


As well as the land formations the plants and animals are also a part of traditional life in the desert; they all are a part of life’s cycle and important for the continuation of the species.


The paintings that we see hanging on the gallery walls all have these features, they tell us about a land that has the oldest living culture, and the people of that culture who are now sharing their knowledge with us all.


Red Desert Dreamings Gallery is holding an exciting exhibition by  Aboriginal sister artists, Sarrita and Tarisse King at "NO VACANCY GALLERY"  at Federation Square.  If you're after a great work by well-known artists without breaking the art budget then this exhibition is well worth a visit.

We have chosen a range of interesting works in very different styles by the King sisters for this exhibition.


The exhibition will run from Tuesday 12 March until Sunday 31 March, 2013.


No Vacancy Gallery

Tenancy 32

The Atrium

Federation Square

Melbourne 3000

PH: 03 9663 3798

Tues-Sat 11.00 - 5.00

Sun 12.00 - 5.00

From painting on the body and in the sand to works of art on the wall

Huge steps have been made in Aboriginal art over the past 20 years, traditionally the works that we see hanging on gallery walls were originally done on the body and in the sand.  Now paintings done on canvas and paper are being hung in homes, offices, galleries and museums worldwide.

Many people have questioned whether it's art or culture and there is a fine line between the two. 

Yes, the works that are done for the art market today are a part of a culture that goes back over 40,000 years, the stories these paintings depict about ceremony and the law are still part of the spiritual beliefs of the people today.

What we see on the gallery walls is art  and wonderful and exciting artists have emerged to tell the stories of their traditions.  The emergence of Aboriginal art, not just in Australia, but also worldwide have educated many non indigenous people thru these paintings and have also given the people a way to earn a living and also a new found respect in society,  these paintings teach us about the amazing culture that has survived in this country long before European settlement.



Buying Aboriginal Art

Many people who are buying Aboriginal art for the first time are quite daunted by the prospect of how to go about their purchase.

If you are new to Aboriginal art is it always a good idea to learn as much as you can about these unique artworks before making your choice.

At Red Desert Dreamings we are always happy to tell you about the paintings that we have on offer,  give you as much information as you need to feel confident that your purchase is authentic, and the right one for you.

There are many different styles that represent the different areas where the artists come from. 

Generally speaking there are 3 main areas to consider;  The Desert where paintings are bright and bold and known for works showing a lot of dotting and iconography, these are generally painted in acrylic paint on canvas or linen, The Kimberley where ochres (natural pigments) are used to create images of the country in broad and bold designs on canvas and Arnhem Land or Top End art,  cross-hatching or raark work depicts the Dreamtime stories painted on canvas, paper or bark.

Every Aboriginal artist is telling us something about their culture, it is a very significant expression about their spiritual beliefs and the law that guides them all. 

All paintings from Red Desert Dreamings gallery have been sourced either direct from the artist or otherwise a community that supports that artist and their family.  All works come with a Certificate of Authenticity with details of the painting and the artist.  Where possible we source images of the artist painting their work that accompanies the documentation.


A fine example of art from The Desert by  Bill "Whiskey" Tjalptjarri


Top End art from Tiwi Is.

Kimberley art by Queenie McKenzie



Discount on paintings"Country of Kings" exhibition

This exhibition will continue in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel and also at Red Desert Dreamings Gallery on level 4 for another few weeks.

Both the artists have been delighted with the response from their work and now many have found their way into their new homes. 

Sarrita and Tarissee King have asked us to discount the final works and so we still have some magnificent paintings on offer at 15% discount.....if you've been admiring any works on display then now is the time to buy as this offer doesn't happen often.


Australian  glass artist dances with fire to create some of the finest glass pieces to hit the international art world.

Tina Cooper, one of Australia's finest glass artists with a reputation internationally, is a resident on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where she works with liquid currents of molten glass drawn from a 1200 degree furnace to create her masterpieces.

 "I am a rough diamond that does not want to be polished because my rawness has taken a lifetime to create, just like a diamond"  Tina says.

United States President, Barack Obama, purchased a piece of Tina Cooper's indigenous series for the White House.


The outback pieces that Tina has created are simply amazing, crafted in glass drawing inspiration from her trips outback to the desert and beyond.

 Tina hopes that people sense and share the depth of love and feeling that she puts into all her work which is a true expression of her own emotions and thoughts of the moment.

Her strong connection with the Australian environment is reflected in many of the pieces that show illusions of the Sunshine Coast beaches and her love of the ocean.  All these are richly represented in her glass art, making her one of the most sought-after glass artists in the world.

Aboriginal sand paintings

Sand paintings were created for significant ceremonies. 

The ceremony could be to depict the journey of a spiritual ancestor from a distant place;  as in the journey of the Tingari creator spirits, or to honor the coming of a season with abundant food, it might also be a survival map to teach the young initiates where food or waterholes are found.

The area for each sand painting is always carefully prepared, the ground is cleared and the surface is spread with termite-nest gravel mixed with water to a paste, when dried this hardens to give a firm surface.  The senior lawmen then create the Dreamtime story showing, land, animals, plants and spiritual symbols;  created with sand, ochres, leaves, feathers and sticks.  The designs can be a series of round circles, wavy lines, mounds or any of the many symbols that represent their Dreamtime journey and the land that it represents.

The majority of these sand paintings are restricted to senior lawmen.

Sand paintings can cover a huge area and can be as large as one hectare, they are always destroyed at the end of the ceremony.

Paintings on canvas that depict these ceremonies can often be over-painted to hide some of the sacred information of the Dreamtime story.  There can also be a repetition of pattern and design, the sacred designs hidden and only known to the initiated senior lawmen.

Aboriginal people living on the land, with the land ... body painting

Aboriginal children learn from the moment that they are born to rely on what nature has to offer them.  They learn about the plants and how they grown, when they are ripe to eat and how to prepare them for eating.  They learn how to hunt and fish and what is good eating.  They also learn to respect the forces of nature and how to survive in a very harsh land.

The change of the seasons, birth and death are all celebrated in sacred ceremonies of ritual, song and dance.  This is all part of their spiritual growth and belonging.  Paintings done on the bodies for these spiritual ceremonies form an important part of any gathering and men, women and children all have their own specific painting designs that adorn their bodies.

Today when we look at paintings done on canvas, bark and paper hanging in galleries most of these designs go back to the body paintings done for ceremonies many thousands of years ago.

Our Generation

A brilliant online documentary by Damien Curtis and Sinem Saban to mark this year's Human Rights Day

This documentary is at the heart of the Indigenous Rights Movement in Australia.  It was a winner at the Best Campaign Film at the London International Documentary Festival 2011.

"This is a film that everyone must see.  It will change your life."   John Butler


Click here to view "Our Generation"