Earth Cycles

The paintings by SarritaandTarisse King can tell us a lot about the country that the two sisters grew up in.  Their father, the late Bill King Jangala, taught his daughters about the countryside, the philosophies and about their ancestors.

The elements also played an important role in the education of the two sisters, Fire and Water feature heavily in works by both of the sisters.

Fire was the element that connected Tarisse to her ancestors and in turn her ancestors to the earth.  The heat of the fire can be felt in her artworks and it is this feeling of warmth that her father said would be the same sensation her ancestors had experienced thousands of years ago.

Water with it's life giving properties connects her to her father.  Tarisse captures the movement and shimmer of the water as seen from above through her varied tonal use of blues and whites.

Sarrita King paints the Earth Cycles, her father passed these down to her, teaching her about the connection between all people and the world around them.

Water with its different geographical formations inspired Sarrita to seek and mimic the movement of this life-giving element.  Listening to her father explain the dire importance of water to the Aboriginal people and culture, Sarrita feel that this element also connects her to her father.


 View artworks by Tarisse King

View artworks by Sarrita King

Traditional Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal people traditionally painted on rock, on the body and in the sand  to tell the stories of their ancestors and their creation stories.

Aboriginal Rock Art

Aboriginal rock paintings appear on cave walls all over Australia.  The best-known are in the Kimberley area of West Australia.  This is probably the oldest art form.  The Wandjina, the ultimate creator,  hunting scenes and the Bradshaw figures or Mimi Spirits are found on many cave walls going back over 40,000 years.  This art form tells us about the activities, the spiritual beliefs and the social activity of the people of the time.


Aboriginal Bark Paintings

Painted on the bark harvested from trees.  The bark is first soaked in water and then smoked to create a flat shape for painting.  Bark was also used to make everything from  baskets to canoes.  Most bark works come from Arnhemland and northern West Australia.


Aboriginal Dot Paintings

These paintings come from the centre and western desert areas where dots, using acrylic paint are used to create and depict plants, animals, waterholes and land forms.  Originally done in ochre's the Aboriginal desert artists moved onto acrylic paints when they were introduced to them by the missionaries. 

Aboriginal Aerial paintings

 Many paintings of country are viewed from above, "bird's-eye view".  Painted by the artist sitting on the ground, they have been created with an intimate knowledge of land and tell the Dreamtime creation stories of the plants, animals, earth cycles and landscape.


Aboriginal Carvings and sculpture

Weapons such as spears for fishing, hunting and fighting were created out of stone and wood.  Coolamuns, baskets for food gathering and small animal and bird figures  were also carved out of the local wood.  Necklaces and other adornments worn for ceremony were made out of feathers and seeds.  Bush string to bind things together was made out of fibres from plants.  These fibres were also used to weave baskets.



The traditional wind instruments from North East Arnhemland were created out of a tree branch that was hollowed out by termites,  They were cut down and shaped to a long hollow instrument used in ceremony by the men.



Symbols were drawn in the sand as maps showing the young initiates where to find waterholes, food and teach about hunting and how to recognize animal tracks.

Some very elaborate sand paintings were used for ceremony, they took days and days to create and once the ceremony was over were destroyed.



What is Tingari?

The Tingari relates to the journey's of the ancestors, men and women who were there at the beginning of creation, travelling across the land creating the hills, the mountains, plants, animals and humans.

Tingari is a sacred "Men's Business" ceremony.

When the young boys reach about eleven or twelve they to have leave their mothers and go with the senior men into the country to learn about the land and the life that it protects.  Once the young boys have passed their tests they are then initiated and take on the knowledge and the responsibility that goes with it.

Tingari has been a part of Pintupi law since conception, and the paintings of Tingari have been created since the early days of the Aboriginal art movement and are a part of Aboriginal history.


Originally drawn on the body for ceremony, now on canvas to educate those willing to learn.

Elements such as linked concentric circles and squares have become the icons of the Tingari depicition.

Whilst a lot of the Tingari paintings are in the traditional earth colours, artists such as Ronnie Tjampitjinpa have created their Tingari paintings using big bold shapes with vivid colours such as oranges, blues, greens and purples.

The circles and squares have become quite irregular in many of the Tingari paintings of today as artists add other dotted and filled-in areas. 

Regular shapes have been distorted, pulled in various directions on the canvas as the artists work on their painting, creating a brilliant piece of artwork while still maintaining the integrity of the sacred Tingari ceremony and protecting parts of the story that are restricted to all but the initiated.


Tingari Cycle by Ronnie Tjampitjin

Aboriginal Art Australia.....facts

Australian Aboriginal art is the oldest ongoing art tradition in the world, originally painted on the body for ceremony, on the walls of caves and on the ground.  The culture goes back over 40,000 years.

There are more than 100,000 individual rock art sites in caves around the country.

Australian Aboriginal art is now a world-wide art movement.

Before European occupation there were more than 200 different languages and over 600 dialects spoken, all but a handful of Aboriginal languages now exist, approx 20!

The Didgeridoo

originated in a small corner of north-east Arnhem Land and is the oldest wind instrument.  It is symbolic of Aboriginal music and is now played in many music bands by non indigineous people.  The didigeridoo or "yidaki" is made from tree branches that have been hollowed out by termites.

The term "Songlines"

refer to the pathways that criss-cross the country.  The ancient spirit ancestors followed these pathways when they created the people, animals and plant-life.  These ancient boundaries connected communities and created the pathway for the Aboriginal people to share their songs of creation.

Aboriginal people are connected to the land because of their spirit ancestors, they share this knowledge thru their ceremonies where painting, dance and music are all a part. 

The stories or lore is called The Dreamtime, these Dreamtime stories are celebrated and passed down generation to generation to ensure that Aboriginal culture is ongoing.


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

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.

Aboriginal Art from the Western Desert - Kintore and Kiwirrkura

These two Aboriginal settlements were originally established as outstations of Papunya. 

Many of the artists who had painted with the art teacher, Geoffrey Bardon, at Papunya then moved back to their own Pintupi homelands when these areas were established, creating another unique and wonderful area that is now known for it's own individual style of painting.

Aboriginal law men who had achieved the seniority to paint the Tingari Cycle now took their works to a whole new design level.  Complex patterns emerged that told the important and sacred story of the ancestral Tingari spirits

Walala and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri were probably the last of the desert men to emerge after living their entire lives in traditional way in the desert.  Both these men are now artists painting their Dreamtime journeys and country with acrylic paints on canvas.

Senior Aboriginal lawmen such at Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, George Tjungurrayi, (known as Hairbrush as if you saw his hair you'd understand why) and Charlie Tjungurrayi paint with a huge knowledge of their country and with deep spiritual conviction.  Their works are sought by collectors worldwide and hang alongside many of the famous European and Amercian artists.  Known for their very contemporary "look" they are based on stories thousands of years old.  Works below LHS, Walala, RHS, Ronnie Tjampitjinpa


The Aboriginal women from Kintore and Kiwirrkura have also played an important role in the Aboriginal Art Movement, Nyruapayia Nampitjinpa, Naata Nungurrayi, Makinti Napangati and  Ningura Napurrula ,have left an indelible mark in the painting world.  LHS, Naata Nungurrayi and RHS Ningura Napurrula


Exhibition at Treehouse Gallery, Birregurra

aboriginal art EXHIBITION in the otway's

The Treehouse Gallery specializes in exhibiting and promoting beautiful Australian fine timbers, paintings and artisan crafts from Australia's art and craft community.  Red Desert Dreamings Gallery and Treehouse Gallery are currently presenting a collection of Aboriginal artworks at the gallery.


Treehouse Gallery is part of an innovative idea for the Otway region.  It was borne out of the need for the Otway Agroforestry Network (OAN) to have an office and focal point. A wonderful space was found in a double-fronted bluestone shop in the main street of Birregurra. Deemed too good for just office space, OAN members Marianne and Nicky Stewart decided to set up the gallery to promote beautiful Australian timbers, forest products and sustainability. The Treehouse Gallery and OAN Office opened on May 29th 2010 in tune with the inaugural Otway Agroforestry Network Annual Farm Tree Expo in Birregurra.

Birregurra, in the foothills of the Otway Ranges, is a small picturesque township famed for gourmet foods and leisure shopping. It is in Victoria’s South-West in the Otways hinterland close to Lorne, Apollo Bay and Colac. It is within two hours drive from Melbourne on the A1 Hwy via the Geelong Bypass and Winchelsea.

Open Friday to Monday 11am-4.30pm , or by appointment.

55 Main Street, Birregurra, Victoria, Australia 3242

Aboriginal Art from Yuendemu


..."look we've got these colours all around us everywhere..." Paddy Stewart, one of the senior Aboriginal desert artists from Yuendumu said, he pointed to the sky "look blue and there's red there, these are the colours of our world you know"

Yuendumu Art is known for it's colourful art and wild flamboyant style.   The art centre at Yuendumu, Warlukurlangu Art, is covered with these paintings of Dreamtime stories.  Yuendumu's painting movement started around the mid 80's.  Anthropologists, Francoise Dussart and Meredith Morris were researching women's body designs and the painting techniques.  They supplied artist materials to the women, a group of approx 30, who painted and then sold their works done on coolamons, boards and beads to raise money to buy a four-wheel drive for the community.

The National Gallery of Australia bought a painting of the night sky for $3,000 and the money the artists got from this helped them to establish the cooperative Warlukurlangu Artists Association in 1986 with 90 members.  It now represents many hundreds of artists.

Yuendumu is approx 300km northwest of Alice Springs.  It was established in 1946 and until the 1960's was under the government assimilation policy.  In 1978 it was handed back to it's community of around 800 people. 

The art centre is the hub of the community and although many of the artists paint off-site, the centre is where they all come to enjoy each others company;  paint, laugh and talk.  During the school holidays the children come to paint with the elders and learn about their Dreamtime stories, an important part of their culture.  Many world-famous artists have come from this area; Judy Napangardi Watson, Maggie Napangardi Watson, Paddy Tjungarrayi, Dolly Daniels, Peggy Napurrula, Bessie Simms, Liddy Napanangka.

View some of the Warlukurlangu artists' work....

Judy Napangardi Watson

Dorothy Napangardi Robinson

Lily Kelly Napangardi