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Aboriginal Art: Home

This factsheet provides a guide to resources relating to Aboriginal art held in the State Library of South Australia

Getting started

This guide to sources relating to Aboriginal art was last updated by Library staff in 2016. It comprises selected material held by the State Library or available online.

To find further material relevant to this topic, try searching with these subject headings in the State Library catalogue:

  • Art, Aboriginal Australian
  • Artists, Aboriginal Australian
  • Bark painting -- Australia
  • Painting, Aboriginal Australian
  • Rock paintings -- Australia
  • Name of artist 

For more assistance, talk with staff at the Library's Information Desk or Ask Us.

Ronnie Tjampitjinpa

Watch internationally renowned painter Ronnie Tjampitjinpa at work.

The Desert Art Centre specialises in Central and Western Desert Indigenous Artwork from the Northern Territory. See more clips on their YouTube channel.


Ananguku arts. Representing artists of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the far northwest of South Australia.

Art Gallery of South Australia. Click on 'Collections' to browse Indigenous Art collection of the Gallery.

Bell's Theorem. Artist Richard Bell.

National Gallery of Australia collection.

Tandanya. National Aboriginal cultural institute.

Tarnanthi. Festival of contemporary Indigenous art.


The State Library has a number of electronic resources that are useful for finding articles relating to Aboriginal art.

Some of these resources can only be accessed within the library and others can also be accessed from home by becoming a Home Access User.

Relevant resources include:

Academic search complete General periodical index

Australian Art Auction records

Australian/New Zealand Reference centre  Newspaper and magazine articles from the recent past.

Australian Public Affairs Full Text General periodical index

Trove website provides word searchable access to historical Australian newspapers, mostly prior to 1955

Books and pamphlets

Bardon, Geoffrey. Papunya: a place made after the story: the beginnings of the Western Desert painting movement, 2004.

Beier, Ulli. Dream time - machine time: the art of Trevor Nickolls, 1985.

Berndt, Ronald M. and Phillips, E.S. (eds). The Australian Aboriginal heritage: an introduction through the arts. 2nd ed., 1978.

Boulter, Michael. The art of Utopia: a new direction in contemporary Aboriginal art, 1991.

Caruana, Wally. Aboriginal art, 2012.

Cochrane, Susan (ed). Aboriginal art collections: highlights from Australia's public museums and galleries, 2001.

Cumpston, Nici. Highlights : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2014.

Edwards, Robert and Guerin, Bruce. Aboriginal bark paintings, 1973.

Flood, Josephine. Rock art of the dreamtime: images of ancient Australia, 1997.

Fox, Stephen. Ian W. Abdulla: Elvis has entered the building, 2003.

French, Alison. Seeing the Centre: the art of Albert Namatjira, 1902-1959, 2002.

Hamby, Louise and Young, Diana. Art on a string: Aboriginal threaded objects from the Central Desert and Arnhem Land, 2001.

Holy holy holy: 13 contemporary artists explore the interaction between Christianity and Aboriginal culture, 2004.

Horton, David (ed). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, 1994.

Isaacs, Jennifer. Desert crafts: Anangu Maruku punu, 1992.

Isaacs, Jennifer. Aboriginality: contemporary Aboriginal paintings & prints, 1992.

James, Diana. Painting the song : Kaltjiti artists of the sand dune country, 2009.

Johnson, Vivien. Lives of the Papunya Tula Artists, 2008.

Johnson, Vivien. Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, 2003.

Johnson, Vivien. Copyrites: Aboriginal art in the age of reproductive technologies, 1996.

Jones, Philip with Warlukurlangu artists. Behind the doors : an art history from Yuendumu, 2014.

Jones, Philip and Sutton, Peter. Art and land: Aboriginal sculptures of the Lake Eyre Region, 1986.

Kaus, David. Ernabella batiks in the Hilliard Collection of the National Museum of Australia, 2004.

Kleinert, Sylvia, Neale, Margo and Bancroft, Robyne (eds). The Oxford companion to Aboriginal art and culture, 2000.

Kngwarreye, Emily Kame. Utopia : the genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Rev. ed., 2008.

Kreczmanski, J.B. The Tjulkurra: Billy Stockman Tjapaltjarri, 2002.

McLean, Ian (ed). How Aborigines invented the idea of contemporary art : writings on Aboriginal art, 2011.

McLean, Ian. The art of Gordon Bennett, 1996.

McCulloch, Susan and McCulloch Childs, Emily. McCulloch's contemporary Aboriginal art : the complete guide, 2008.

Moffatt, Tracey. Tracey Moffatt, 1999.

Morwood, M.J. Visions from the past: the archaeology of Australian Aboriginal art, 2002.

National Indigenous Art Triennial.
Culture warriors : National Indigenous Art Triennial, 2007.
Undisclosed : 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial, 2012
Defying emipire : 3rd indigenous art triennial, 2017.

Nicholls, Christine, and North, Ian. Kathleen Petyarre: genius of place, 2001.

Parkes, Brian (ed). Woven forms : contemporary basket making in Australia, 2005.

Perkins, Hetti and West, Margie (eds). One sun one moon : Aboriginal art in Australia, 2007.

Pring, Adele. Aboriginal artists in South Australia, 1998.

Ryan, Judith and Batty, Philip. Tjukurrtjanu : origins of Western Desert art, 2011.

Ryan, Judith. Ginger Riley, 1997.

Sayers, Andrew. Aboriginal artists of the nineteenth century, 1994.

Sutton, Peter (ed). Dreamings: the art of Aboriginal Australia, 1988.

Tarnanthi: festival of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, 2015.

Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award 1984-2008 : celebrating 25 years, 2011.

Tjala Arts (ed). Nganampa kampatjangka unngu = beneath the canvas : the lives and stories of the Tjala artists, 2015.

Walsh, Grahame. Australia's greatest rock art, 1988.

Warlukurlangu Artists. Kuruwarri ; Yuendumu doors, 1987.

Watson, Penny (comp). Tjanpi desert weavers, 2012.