Utopia Art: The Fascinating Aboriginal Art of Central Desert, Australia

RSS Author RSS     Views:N/A
Bookmark and Share          Republish
If there is one thing that remains universal it is that stories inspire art. This is very true of the fascinating aboriginal art of the Utopia Region.

The Utopia Region and their Aboriginal Art

Located 240 km northeast of Alice Springs, the Utopia region of Australia is home to around 2000 people, mainly Alyawarrespeakers. The region covers around 1800 square kilometres of desert which to this day has been maintained in its natural state.

The first white settlers of the region found rabbits that were so tame they could easily be caught by hand; they thought that a place that offeredsuch an idyllic life should be called Utopia. However, the weather patterns in the area proved otherwise as the region possessan unfavourable climate; low rainfall and long hot summers with frosty winter nights causing the settlers to move on.

Despitethe hot summer days and cold winter nights, the region’s flora surprises with its beauty and abundance.Most importantly the regionhas a rich source of coloured ochre that can be crushed and mixed with animal fats or blood as binder to produce paint.

Utopia Aboriginal Art: Themes & Characteristics

With the abundance of natural elements plus the unique scenery to inspire, it is not surprising that an interesting style of aboriginal art has emerged in this region through the form of Utopia Art.

Like a lot of Aboriginal Art, Utopia Art is influenced by the Dreamtime. Unlike art in its neighbouring regions represented in iconic or figurative sense, Utopia Art is represented in a more spatial sense. This means that Utopia Art may sometimes represent the “whole story”.

One major Dreamtimestory that is prominently featured in most Utopia Art is the Old Woman Mountain Dreaming, which chronicles the female ancestors travel across the country as they pinpoint vital sites crucial for survival. In Utopia’s aboriginal art, this is depicted through a symbolic line of trees that indicate either:
• The location of groundwater
• The seasonal cycle
• The location of various native foods
• The sites of waterholes

FemaleArtistsin Utopia Art

Utopia Art has been used bywomen to express their culture, especially in reflecting:
• Awelye, or women’s ceremony
• Their ways of paying homage to their traditional roles as food gatherers
• Their acts of paying respect for the land and the food it provides

Utopia Art, Then and Now

Utopia Art has been produced for ceremonial occasions for thousands of years now, through body paintings and sand paintings. However, it was only in the 1970s when western craft practices, such as batik and acrylic paint on canvas, were combined with the art form.

Today Utopia Art follows the tradition set by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, the famous artist who paved the way for the contemporary and abstract styles of referencing Awelye and fine dotting work. With around 250 professional Utopia Artists now, more colours, storylines, and abstract work have beenintroduced but the newer artists have also ensured they keep the same underlying cultural meaning, influenced by the Dreamtime.

# # #

About MukMuk Fine Art:
MukMuk Fine Art is strongly committed to nurturing emerging talents and promoting aboriginal art throughout Australia and overseas. We specialise in aboriginal artworks from the Central and Western Desert areas of Central Australia including Utopia Art.

Report this article

Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article