A dot painting shows Antara, a place where tribal members perform a traditional dance or song to produce a bounty of witchetty grubs. (Art Gallery of South Australia).
The search for reconciliation between black and white Australia is a constant theme for Raymond Walters Japanangka, a commercial painter based in the Northern Territory.
“I’m very passionate about building relationships between all cultures, and I want to look at exploring art in that way also,” he tells BBC Culture.
He comes from a rich artistic bloodline. His late uncle was Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, one of the most collected and distinguished Aboriginal painters. ‘Warlugulong’, his celebrated piece of acrylic on canvas that tells the tale of the power of a hallowed bushfire, was sold at auction for more than AUD$2 million in 2007.
Like other Aboriginal artists, Raymond Walters Japanangka draws inspiration from those closest to him.
“The foundation for a lot of my art is based on my spiritual upbringing, and my connection with my grandfather and grandmother’s country and also my connection with our belief system and family.
Acrylic paint and brushstrokes are just a way of expressing that,” he explains.
Ancestral spirits also inspire the brushstrokes of veteran Aboriginal artist Bronwyn Bancroft as she depicts the divinity of the lands of her tribe, the Djanbun clan, in northern New South Wales.
A founding member of Boomalli, an Aboriginal artists’ collective in the Sydney suburb of Leichhardt, Bronwyn Bancroft surveys a gallery full of charcoal drawings, works in acrylic and art made from felt.
Her work is deeply personal and is “drenched with symbolism” as it explores an unbreakable connection to the earth.