Aboriginal Art from the Western Desert - Balgo

Many of the Aboriginal communities in the Western Desert now have a lot of famous painters in their midst

Balgo Hills is one of the most isolated Aboriginal settlements 300km from the nearest town of Halls Creek.  During the wet season this community can be cut off for many months and during the dry times its a hot arid region of the desert.

The colours of the landscape in this area reflect the impact that they've had on the desert artists;  the intense colour of the  hot orange-red sand contrasts with the  deep blue of the sky, the soft green of the spinifex covered sand-dunes harmonizes with the deep purple hues as the sun sets.  

Balgo was originally established as a Catholic mission in 1939 and became an "Aboriginal controlled" community in 1981.  Different from other Aboriginal communities such as Papunya, the children were not separated from their parents and their own language was not forbidden.  In 1981 an Adult Education Centre was established and 2 years later a bilingual Catholic school was created, because of these schools the painting community was able to start in ernest..

Many of the elders who came out of the desert to live at Balgo  became part of this emerging painting community.  Art from Balgo has it's own unique style.  Known for its strong vivid colours, extremely wild and flamboyant design, the Aboriginal artists of the Balgo region have had a profound effect on the centre and western desert art movement. 

Some of the artists to emerge from this region are Eubena Nampitjin whose works now are in the National Gallery of Victoria, Helicopter who got his name after a ride in a helicopter to hospital, Mick Gill, Sam Tjampitjin, Boxer Milner, Lucy Yukenbarri, John Mosquito, Sunfly, Bai Bai Napangarti

 


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