• (L-R) Gloria Mengil Ceramic, Kakadu Plum Co. tea towel, Sukin handwash (NITV/Various)Source: NITV/Various
With most large paintings being a serious investment, we have found some creative and budget-friendly ways to bring authentic art into your home.
By
Yatu Widders-Hunt

12 Mar 2020 - 3:59 PM  UPDATED 12 Mar 2020 - 4:55 PM

Over the past few years, we have seen the visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork continue to grow. From being featured on Qantas planes through the Flying Art Series, to being a proud part of the AFL and NRL team jerseys in the Indigenous Rounds and now, and also, gracing the catwalks like the recent Gorman X Mangkaja fashion collaboration.

It’s no surprise that initiatives like these continue to inspire people all around the country (and abroad) to celebrate and showcase Indigenous art in their own homes.

But with most large paintings being a serious investment, we have found some creative and budget-friendly ways to bring Indigenous art into the everyday.

From traditional homewares, to baskets and bathroom products, we have rounded up the Top 5 pieces to make your place pop!

 

A place to put your knickknacks 

The Tjanpi Desert Weavers are all about celebrating life, creating and Country, which resonates through their intricate woven wonders.

You’re looking for a statement piece that also serves a practical purpose, their range of handmade baskets look great on a coffee or bedside table as jewellery storage, key holders or simply as a striking stand-alone.

While some of their larger, more detailed baskets come at a high price, they have a big collection of smaller works under $150.  We love the dramatic style of this Martha Yurnupa Ward piece made from tjanpi (wild harvested grass) and wipiya (emu feathers). It’s also versatile enough to display as a wall hanging for something a little bit different. While perusing the Tjanpi website, be sure to check out the woven animal figures, which would also work perfectly as a feature piece depicting birds, camels and even cheeky dogs!

 

Something to 'hang'

The humble tea towel is a household staple and often underrecognised. Sure, the ten-year-old one your cousin bought you back from a souvenir shop is a nice reminder of her trip to Noosa, but it doesn’t quite decorate. 

The artwork collection sold through Kakadu Plum Co is sure to brighten up any kitchen. When it’s not doing its domestic duties, it can easily be prominently displayed on a rack to feature its full and intricate detail. Although there are five different designs to choose from on the site, including pieces featuring the work of Murdie Morris and Judy Watson, we love the striking blue hues of the Cotton Tea Towel by Watson Roberston from Warlukurlangu Artists.

 

Importantly, each towel comes with information about the artist and the artwork so you can share the story with guests or build an even deeper appreciation of its beauty. The product enjoys only five-star ratings on the website, with one serious art lover noting they have even framed their tea towel as a piece of DIY decorating!

 

Wrap it up

Bringing together both style and sustainability, these printed Warlukurlangu Apiary Made beeswax wraps bring colour into conventional cooking.

Designed as an eco-friendly alternative to cling wrap, these versatile pieces can be used to cover bowls or leftover foods and last up to 12 months. Made in collaboration with Apiary Made, these colourful wraps feature the artwork of artist Alice Nampijinpa Michaels, who brings her vibrant and contemporary palette to the piece, full of pinks, blues and the brightest of yellows.

 

Serve up some style

For some more traditional kitchenware, Waringarri Arts has released these handmade ceramic ware pieces featuring the artwork of Gloria Mengil.

These super stylish cups, bowels and plates showcase Gloria’s work celebrating her favourite bush tucker, in a grey and black palette that would suit a chic and minimalist aesthetic.

These products are made with purpose and the range includes pieces to accommodate everything from platters to pasta. One of the standouts are the delicate cups, or “beakers” as they are called on the site, which are lovely for a morning coffee in or even to display on living room shelving.

Waringarri’s ceramic ware is now a regular feature at the annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) where you can meet the artists, touch and feel the pieces and learn more about the Centre’s work.

 

Awash with colour

A bathroom isn’t the most obvious place you’d expect to see artwork, but Australian natural skincare company Sukin, has released a series in partnership with Indigenous fashion label, Arkie.

This luxury gift pack, which includes both a hand wash and hand cream, features bright and colourful hand-drawn artwork by Indigenous fashionista, Arkie Barton.

Arkie the Label is already known for its vibrant and cheeky fashion pieces —including their bestselling Dreamtime tee— with each one drawing inspiration from the natural world and contemporary Aboriginal identify. It’s a style that naturally translates to these easy to use Sukin pump packs would pack a punch against a sparkling bathroom sink.

 

Yatu Widders Hunt is a Director at Indigenous social change agency, Cox Inall Ridgeway and founder and curator of the Australian Indigenous Fashion social media community. Follow Yatu @ausindigenousfashion 

NITV/SBS received no commercial consideration for these selections and all reviews were made independently by the writer.