AGWA Digitisation of Aboriginal Art in WA State Art Collection


In an effort to promote and celebrate the remarkable Aboriginal art of the Kimberley, Desert River Sea offers audiences digital access to images of Kimberley Aboriginal art from the holdings of the WA State Art Collection. We hope that exhibiting this rich resource of works in this way will promote appreciation, research as well as discussion about the future of the collection.

AGWA’s collection of Kimberley Aboriginal artworks include representations from right across the region and currently numbers more than 400. Comprised of artifacts, historical and contemporary works of art – each documents the rich visual languages and traditions of the region’s Indigenous peoples, while highlighting and celebrating the emergence of significant art movements within the region over the last 40 years. The collection is constantly growing and as an ongoing process we are continually updating State Art Collection records to the Desert River Sea website, there are currently 429 images of Kimberley State Art Collection works on the site, you can explore them here.

Some of the celebrated artists represented within the collection include; Paddy Bedford, Hughie Bent, Jan Billycan, Jack Britten, Paddy Jaminji, Lily Karadada, Queenie McKenzie, Alec Mingelmanganu, Eubena Nampitjin, Butcher Joe Nangan, Peter Newry, Lena Nyadbi, Jimmy Pike, Wakartu Cory Surprise, Rover Thomas, Roy Wiggan and Daniel Walbidi.

Part of the gallery’s current major Indigenous project Six Seasons, is the ambitious plan to digitise the entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection. Photographing works in the collection can be quite involved and require the coordinated assistance of multiple curators, registrars and conservation staff. The following time lapse video shows the behind the scenes activity of the recent recording of an artwork Marrapinti by Nancy Nungurray (2001, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 1830 x 3027 mm)


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