THE ABORIGINAL FINE ARTS STORY
NOTE: We are still working on writing this page. But please feel welcome to read what we have thus far.|
It began on the Tanami desert track. A wedge tail eagle hovering above the long trail of billowing red dust, keeping a watchful eye for any prey that was disturbed by the truck thundering its way along the corrugated outback road towards the Aboriginal community town of ............ There Phil would deliver the long awaited supplies. He ran trucks on a regular basis to .........in the Tanami, Palumpa in Daly River area and Gove in North East Arnhemland. On the return trips the trucks was rarely empty, however, community members were not always able to pay for his services and offered paintings instead. As an owner driver running his own trucking business money was what he really needed, not paintings but he had to take the truck back anyway return freight or not and he quite liked some of the paintings. From what he understood at the time many of the paintings were about the country that he drove through and the natural landmarks and sacred places that he drove passed on a regular basis. Little did he know that in years to come he would be somewhat of an authority on the matter. Back in the 70's Phil had married Rosie, a very pretty girl of Aboriginal descent and this ultimately fostered a sense of connection and affection for Aboriginal people and their paintings. His interest was further encouraged by Steve, a childhood friend whom he discovered now dealt in Aboriginal art. Over the years, his trucking services had resulted in the accumulation of a small collection of paintings. Put together with the painting he had also acquired through his art dealing friend Steve, he had what would, later prove to be a fairly significant collection of Aboriginal Art. Years later in 1996 Phil sold his truck business and was taking a well deserved break from work. Afternoons were spent on the back veranda talking to an old school mate over a few beers. One way or the other out of Phil's desire to do something with his collection of paintings and his mates curiosity about the new developments in computer communications, they came up with the idea of trying to sell some of the paintings on the internet. Back in 1995 the internet in Australia was still very much in its infancy and many average people on the street had yet to hear of it. Digital cameras were not yet sold in shops, and technological developments that allowed scanned photographs to be loaded and accessed by home computer users had just sparked commercial interest in the potential of the world wide web. Phil's mate put his computer knowledge to good use and they quickly learnt how to construct and edit internet sites. However, in 1995 the internet was still more focused on information rather than sales. It would take another 6-8 years before the general public were familiar with and comfortable about purchasing anything of value over the internet. As result the web sites did not sell many paintings, however, it demonstrate that there was a huge interest in Aboriginal art by people in other countries around the world. The interest and contacts that were generated by the web site lead to Phil's confidence in opening a gallery in Darwin that people from overseas could visit. This marriage of the worlds oldest living culture with that of the worlds newest communication media lead to the establishment of what is internationally known today as 'The Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery'. Today Aboriginal Fine Arts Gallery has been operating successfully for 14 years. It has close on 4000 international customers. Aboriginal fine Arts has always been actively involved in prompting Aboriginal Artists and has provided and continues to provide financial income and support for many Aboriginal families from Arnhemland, the Daly Region, Tiwi Islands and the Central desert.Part II
It was a magic time of year. 'Would Namarrkon allow them sufficient time for some sleep', Dorothy wondered as she lay on her swag gazing up into the night. Between the purpley blue sheets of lighting the night was so dark and the air more clean and pure than any where else in the world. When Namarrkon the lightning spirt was not throwing his fiery axes around, the sky was if it were scattered with sugar and salt. So many stars. She was 82 years old and the thin swag, that lay between her and the hard baked earth that was begging for rain, offered her little comfort. She new that with the sky threatening to open up and swell the dry creek bed, that the ants, beetles, scorpions and bugs would scuttling around in preparation for what may or may not come. that was they way of it at this time of year. Would it rain or would it not? Would she and Phil have to through their swags in the toyota 4x4 and continue their long journey back to Darwin without any sleep. She loved lying there listening to the sounds of the night, the sounds of Arnhemland, the sounds that she knew so well. She had spent a large portion of her life amongst the Kunwinjku aboriginal people of Arnhemland. Today they had visited James Iyuna at Mumeka, to pick up some paintings. She remembered when he was just a boy and how she had ...... ................ The story of Aboriginal Fine Arts would not be complete without mentioning Dorothy. .......... working on gathering all Dorothy's info here When Aboriginal Fine Arts opened Dorothy was one of only two people in Australia authorized by the Commonwealth government to evaluate aboriginal art.When the gallery opened it was done so with Dorothy's support. In recognition of the dedication and the commitment of those involved, Dorothy moved her office into the gallery and became a part of Aboriginal Fine Arts. It was on the many trips into Arnhemland with Dorothy that Phil learnt so much about the intimate detail associated with the art, the people, their stories and ceremonies. ........ More to go herePart III
On its own, it can be a haunting sound, a relaxing meditative sound, a wild rhythmic sound. Some say the sound of the earth. To some its the sound of the spirit that resides within. It is the sound of Yidaki. Western people know it as a Didgeridoo. Brett is one of the galleries directors and when he was younger he began to play the didgeridoo as part of a self discovering journey into his aboriginal heritage. He became a very accomplished didgeridoo player and now divides his time between his commitments to Aboriginal Fine Arts, Ngapa gallery in Melbourne and conducting school didgeridoo exhibitions. more to go here about Brett and the didgeridoo scenePart IV
Dealing with Aboriginal artists is not just about buying and selling their art. Its about becoming involved in their lives and after more than 14 years Aboriginal Fine Arts has been involved in the family lives of many of the Territories most notable artist. ............. more here... mention of some the fascinating tales associated with Aboriginal Fine Arts extended aboriginal families.