Hughie Ah Won bio

d.o.b: 1965

Birthsite:                              Barkley Tablelands, NT

Language/Tribal Group:         Wunambul / Djubidja 

“My name is Hughie Ah Won, I am a Wunambul man, my skin is Djubidja. I paint the Wandjina and stories that were told to me from my elders of the Wunambul tribal. I paint these stories hoping to pass them onto the younger generation of the Kimberley region”.

 

Historical:

Hughie Ah Won was born on Creswell Downs Station, Barkley Tablelands, NT in 1965.  His father was working as a stockman on the station at the time.  Hughie’s father, Edward Ahwon was from Spring Creek Station, WA and his mother, Gracie Ned was from Borroloola in the Northern Territory.

Hughie, his brother Robert and sisters Susan, Marjorie and Audrey grew up and went to school in Wyndham.  After Hughie finished school he worked as both a stockman and a house painter for several years before commencing work in government departments such as Aboriginal Legal Services and Children’s Services.  

Incredibly, given the depth of his talent, Hughie only started painting seriously in 2007. His inspiration to paint came from the old boab carvers in Wyndham. They hadn’t had the eduction that Hughie had, but they had life experience and incredible talent. His mentor was Octa Carroll (father of senior ochre artist Tommy Carroll) and then Alan Carroll and Leslie Evans.

Hughie realised that people in Wyndham were interested in his artworks and started selling locally and in Kununurra for Waringarri Arts in 2008.   In 2009 Hughie and his family moved to Adelaide temporarily where he entered an art competition for the creation of a calendar and his work was chosen to be represented for the month of April.

In early 2010, keen to learn more of the technical aspects of painting, Hughie moved to Cairns where there is a huge art culture.  Recognising his immense talent, a local gallery started working directly with Hughie.  As well as painting his incredible artworks, Hughie also produced stunning etchings and lino cuts.

Hughie now resides in Kununurra, East Kimberley with his family.  Inspired by his country, he continues to create his amazing works.

King Sisters Pop Art

The exhibition of paintings by Sarrita and Tarisse King opened last night.  There were a lot of new works and new styles by these amazing artists who are forever evolving with thought provoking paintings that, not only have a huge depth of knowledge about the country, but also relate really well to viewers who stand in awe of some of the huge canvases.   

Pommery Champagne commissioned Sarrita to paint a special series of works.  These paintings featured on a new art label on their latest champagne bottles.  Both the paintings and the bottles are on display in the foyer at the Hilton Hotel.  More works on level 4 in the gallery.

 

Aboriginal artist Shorty Jangala Robertson now on site

Three new artworks have been added on site.  This amazing desert artist, who lives and paints at Yuendumu lived the life as a child of a desert nomad and had next to no contact with white-man until the Conniston massacre.  Shorty's father took him and his family to Mt Theo to hide from being short, when his father died his mother took him to Yuendumu. more about this artist

Shorty's paintings have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at numerous exhibitions, he is one of the true icons of Australian Aboriginal art.

see paintings by this artist

Aboriginal Art Thrives in the Top End

Visual Arts

Aboriginal art thrives at Top End of the market


Tommy Watson

Tommy Watson with one of his grand-scale works of art in his country near Alice Springs. `Everything is on a big scale out there in the desert,' says arts adviser Ken McGregor. Picture: Steve Strike Source: TheAustralian

MENTION Aboriginal art these days and you're likely to hear a lot of doom and gloom.

The global financial crisis, Labor's resale royalty scheme and its changes to superannuation really knocked the bottom out of the market, dealers say.

But not the top, it seems.

In galleries around the country, high value works, often large ones, are selling swiftly.

"There's a bevy of artists whose work is trading at prices above what we saw prior to the downturn -- I would say at record prices for these artists in private sales," Russell Roberts, director of Piermarq Art Advisory in Sydney, says.

Respected art valuer Brenda Colahan thinks sales have improved markedly in the past six months.

"The top end is finding a market, perhaps privately, not at auction," she says.

The most popular works tend to be by elderly desert artists, people who grew up in the bush before contact with Western civilisation.

"People recognise there's a direct association between these works and a culture that's 40,000 years old and potentially coming to an end," Roberts says.

Ken McGregor, an author and art adviser, argues many of the best paintings now being produced are monumental or very large. "Everything is on a big scale out there in the desert," he says.

"There's something expansive that really lends itself to huge work.

"Some of these paintings are really breathtaking." McGregor curated a show of works by the desert artist Tommy Watson at Metro Gallery in Melbourne, including one five-metre piece priced at more than $800,000.

One of the biggest proponents of monumental works is Chris Simon of Yanda Aboriginal Art, who represents Watson and looks after him while he paints.

"The downturn during the GFC was probably the best thing that could've happened to my business," he says.

"It got rid of all of the small dealers who encouraged artists to paint more than they were capable of doing to high quality."

He says he has since been able to coax the best artists to produce fewer, larger works that he hopes will provide a cultural record.

There has long been a tension between private dealers such as Simon and the government-run art centres that dot the outback and keep many artists employed.

Desert Mob, a highly regarded exhibition of work primarily from art centres, opened in Alice Springs this week. Art centre works tend to dominate competitions and public gallery shows.

McGregor says even though many art centre operators are his friends, he thinks they don't always focus enough on quality.

"The best work is really being produced outside art centres," he says.

Dealers say most of the top end works, selling for prices from $10,000 to $130,000 and up, are going into private collections in Australia and overseas.

McGregor thinks more should be going to institutions.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/visual-arts/aboriginal-art-thrives-at-top-end-of-the-market/story-fn9d3avm-1226713591100

Spectatular paintings

If you want to see some of the most outstanding paintings ever done, then the works by Tommy Watson would have to be on your "must see" list. 

ABORIGINAL LAWMAN AND ARTIST, TOMMY WATSON, HAS BEEN PAINTING SINCE 2000 AND PRODUCED A RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER OF MAJOR WORKS.

TOMMY IS A SENIOR PITJANTJATJARRA ELDER WHO REGARDS HIS PAINTINGS AS HIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY.  HE IS SYMBOLICALLY PASSING ON VERY IMPORTANT CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE IN EACH WORK HE DOES.

The incredible attention to detail is reflected in every painting created. The fusion of colour, texture and form allow you to experience his country as it's depicted on canvas.

TOMMY'S IMMENSE TALENT WAS RECOGNISED IN 2007 WHEN HE WAS ONE OF ONLY EIGHT ABORIGINAL ARTISTS THAT WERE SELECTED FOR THE PERMANENT EXHIBITION AT THE PRESTIGIOUS MUSEE DE QUAY BRANLY IN PARIS 2007.

 

Visit us in Melbourne

Red Desert Dreamings Gallery is located on the Yarra River, level 4 at the Hilton Hotel.  

If you're interested in Aboriginal art, a serious collector or just want to learn more about our amazing indigenous culture then please come and visit us.  The art gallery is open throughout the week and there is someone in the gallery most of the time, but if you want to be certain a gallery member is there, give us a call, as we're always happy to talk with you about our favourite topic, Australian Aboriginal art and culture.


The gallery has a huge collection of Aboriginal art, it was started by Kevin and Jenny Winward, both serious art collectors.  Whilst the gallery does specialize in art from the centre and western desert regions of Australia, it also has an excellent collection of Aboriginal art from Arnhemland or Top End Art (as it's often known by), art from the Tiwi Is as well as the Kimberley in the far west of Australia.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Red Desert Dreamings gallery with Kevin, Jenny, Lucas and Sam Winward.

Red Desert Dreamings supports the artists and their communities.  Aboriginal art has become popular world-wide helping many artists who want to remain in their community earn their living thru art.

Red Desert Dreamings holds  art exhibitions regularly, join our mailing list if you want to be advised when they're on.  Apart from the gallery where Aboriginal art is exhibited throughout the year and open 7 days a week, we often take over the foyer at the Hilton Hotel, where we're located, so you can browse many of our artworks there.

Artists such as Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Clifford Possum, Mitjili, Minnie Pwerle, Turkey Tolson and Walangkura all are represented at Red Desert Dreamings, old masters that hold a special place in a serious art collector or investor's heart.  These senior elders of the Aboriginal desert mob helped to put Aboriginal art on the world map and some are still alive and painting.

Amongst the rising stars of the Aborigianal art world are Tarisse and Sarrita King whose contemporary works depict the Dreamtime stories going back over 40,000 years.  The works by these two sisters are still very much in the "affordable" price bracket for most purchasers. 

Many collectors are now enthusiastically purchasing these two artists' works.  Their paintings show knowledge passed down to them by their father and go back thousands of years, their paintings are fully resolved, but definately have that contemporary edge that bridge the gap between traditional Aboriginal art and modern day paintings.   The future for these two sister's is looking extremely bright.

If you're after a special painting for your home, office, boardroom or perhaps wedding gift or something special for an overseas guest then Red Desert Dreamings can certainly help you.   We not only have an art gallery full of amazing works, but also a stockroom with many more paintings waiting to be appreciated by new owners.






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.

 

Didgeridoos

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.

 

ABORIGINAL SAND PAINTING

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.

 

 

Guess who called into the gallery this week??

Wonderful surprise to catch up with Tarisse King when she called into the gallery this week with her family.  Her little girl has certainly grown a lot and still as active as ever.

 Tarisse and her sister, Sarrita, are known for their paintings depicting the Earth cycles of this country.  

Tarisse's, Pink Salts, paintings (see pictured below) show the pink hues of the minerals that come up from the ground found in many of the lakes between Adelaide and Darwin.   The detail each work is extraordinary and the emotion, knowledge and love of the land, plus the skill of Tarisse with a paint brush is making her works more and more in demand by art lovers and collectors worldwide. 

If you are considering a painting, where the value of each work is still at an affordable price, then Tarisse's paintings are certainly worth looking at.

 

Their popularity has grown over the past year and this hard-working artist will, I'm sure, be painting up a storm for many years to come. 

Tarisse is an Aboriginal painter who takes her work extremely seriously and is constantly evolving, creating exciting contemporary art pieces that are fully resolved as only an artist who has the skill and knowledge of their subject can.  If you're after an investment piece now is certainly the time to buy.

 

 

How Aboriginal art is helping remote communities

OVER the past 30 years Aboriginal art has had a massive leap to fame worldwide. 

 

This has impacted on communities in a very positive way.   Some communities were extremely impoverished and provided little or no opportunities for the people to find employment. 

Now, many artists live and work from their homelands, and are providing for their families and their communities.  The local art centres, often the hub of the community, are giving a level of support to the people living there that the government hasn't been able to do.  Many of these art centres have now become self-sufficient.


 

In the past many people had to leave their communities, forced to find employment in other areas to support families, thus losing social and spiritual bonds with their homelands.

 

Art has given the people, living a traditional lifestyle in remote areas, a source of income and played an extremely important role by passing on spiritual information and messages that could have been all but forgotten by future generations.

Now with an absolute renaissance in Aboriginal art and culture, non indigenous people are also learning more and more about the indigenous people of Australia, and with that a new found respect for those who call the remote areas of Australia their home and the home of their ancestors.

Aboriginal art has and is continually passing on cultural knowledge that many thought was lost.  The younger generations of Aboriginal families who grew up away from their traditional homelands living in cities and country towns, now have the opportunity to learn more about their time-honoured customs thru the paintings that are being created.

Urban Aboriginal art has also emerged as another form of artistic expression for indigenous people who left their homelands. 

 

Originally the artists painted about their experiences, often very difficult, living in a society that was very different from their own, where getting acceptance was extremely hard.  

Now urban Aboriginal artists are very much a part of mainstream Australian art and the links between the traditional and the contemporary styles have emerged to create some amazing paintings.

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


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