• Arts market at the Homeground Festival in Sydney, November 2015 (Homeground Festival)Source: Homeground Festival
Indigenous artworks are rich and varied, portraying everything from community and culture to lifestyle and rights-based activism. This incredible wealth of artistic diversity will be showcased at the Homeground Arts Market in Sydney this weekend.
Karina Marlow

16 Nov 2015 - 4:22 PM  UPDATED 18 Nov 2015 - 1:11 PM

Jewelry, sculpture and photography:

Delvene Cockatoo-Collins is a proud Aboriginal woman whose jewelry design and ceramic sculptures are inspired by her family history and her island home.  She handcrafts ceramic yalingbillas (whales) and yunguns (dugongs) inspired by the majestic creatures that migrate past her home on Minjerribah, also known as North Stradbroke Island. She also makes clay pendants and collects shells and coral from Stradbroke’s beautiful beaches to make jewelry that reflects the natural environment for her company ‘Made On Minjerribah’.  

With a PhD in Creative Arts from the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Studies the artist is not content with just two mediums. Delvene is also a keen photographer taking photos on Minjerribah and throughout Quandamooka Country in Moreton Bay as she gathers the materials for her projects.

Tools and weaponry:

While Indigenous Australians have been passing down the techniques for making tools and weapons for thousands of years, the care that can go into crafting these pieces can make them an art form in themselves.

Andrew Snelgar is a Ngemba artist who draws on the traditions and stories taught to him by his elders in western NSW to craft unique pieces including spear throwers and boomerangs. He then decorates the pieces with contemporary symbols and traditional imagery, weaving stories across the wood.

Andrew is also actively involved in passing on his skills to the next generation through his cultural training programs on NSW’s mid-north coast.

He then decorates the pieces with contemporary symbols and traditional imagery, weaving stories across the wood.

Weaving and textiles:

Weaving is also another art form that draws beauty out of the once every day items that were traditionally used by Indigenous Australians. Kay Lee Williams, who is based in the Northern Rivers of NSW, gathers Bangalow palm fronds to craft baskets that were once used as vessels for carrying food and water.

She has also recently adventured into the craft of eco-dyeing, that is, gathering materials from her natural surroundings to dye material with the colours she can extract from them. Her naturally patterned scarves were proudly displayed on the catwalk at this year’s Thread Fashion event in Lismore.

Digital design:

Indigenous art and design is also adapting with the times as demand for graphics and web design increases. Jasmine Sarin of JS Koori Designs can count numerous Government Departments and Aboriginal Health organisations amongst the clients that have been eager for a piece of her contemporary take on Indigenous art.

Jasmine’s artwork is inspired by her Kamilaroi and Jerrinja heritage as well as her experiences growing up on the South Coast of New South Wales.


Those with a love of visual arts will also not be disappointed. Drawing on a rich tapestry of stories Indigenous painting can often combine traditional and contemporary elements to create the final artwork.

Artist Anthony Walker has had his pieces, which are acclaimed for their strong use of colour and movement, exhibited both within Australia and internationally His signature style combines the traditional storytelling of his grandparents’ Yuin country with contemporary painting techniques.



The work of all of these talented artists is available for sale at the Homeground Arts market running on the 21 and 22 November outside the Sydney Opera House. At 2pm on both days, the artists will tell the stories behind their artworks to enable visitors to learn more about the history of Aboriginal arts and cultural practices.