Bark painting

Bark painting sales information

All bark paintings for sale have been atrributed as accurately as I can.

Any Bark paintings for sale that has not been accurately described may be returned for a full refund less the cost postage.

Sold bark paintings will be sent probably in a strong cardboard box or a wooden box depending on how fragile they are.

All images of bark paintings for sale are accurate representations of the items for sale. I certainly do not photo shop images but sometimes colours may vary slightly from the actual pieces due to lighting.

If the bark paintings for sale are warped or loosing pigments, it will be mentioned in the description.

If you have a bark painting for sale that you would like to show me, please feel free to contact me and send me some images

Bark Painting

There is a huge variety of Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings and this is because regional style changes. There is also changes over time with the influence of Westerners on Australian Aborigines and the subject of the painting itself. If you have Bark paintings and would like to know if it is a good one or a great one then this article is for you.

I buy Australian Aboriginal Bark Paintings so if you have an Australian Aboriginal Bark painting for sale please feel free to contact me. I will tell you more about it and what it is worth. It is as simple as sending me picture of your Australian Aboriginal bark Painting.

Bark painting of a spirit by YirawalaAustralian Aboriginal bark paintings is an ancient tradition, going back possibly thousands of years. The French artist N M Petit, was the first European to make a record of Australian Aboriginal bark painting found on a bark shelter over a grave in 1804 in Tasmania.

In Northern Australia, paintings on bark shelters in the Kimberley and Arnhem Land were similar to paintings in rock shelters . They were used to illustrate important ancestral stories which were told to initiates during the wet season when people were confined to the shelter.

Painted bark dilly bags and baskets were used by Australian Aborigines on Melville and Bathurst Island. In north-east Arnhem Land they painted bark coffins and bark belts.

Style changes in Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting

 The earliest bark paintings were cut from existing bark shelters and have a ragged appearance on the outside of the bark from being physically removed. Early paintings made for Europeans were made on more regular rectangles of bark. Later still these bark squares were reinforced with sticks at the ends so the bark would not curving over time.

The commissioning of Australian Aboriginal bark painting goes back as early as 1912. Baldwin Spencer got Australian Aborigines to make bark paintings at Oenpelli. Consiquently by 1935 missionaries and anthropologist were actively encouraging the painting of Barks for sale.

In the 1970’s aboriginal artists started departing from their regional styles and started introducing aspects from other regions into their work. They also became quickly aware of what was commercially popular and adjusted their artworks to become more commercially viable.

In 1973 the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council made funding available to communities to establiish  community arts centres and for grants to employ arts advisers.

Certain Aboriginal bark painters are recognised for being especially gifted artists and the value of their work reflects this.

Regional Styles of Australian Aboriginal Bark Painting

Oenpelli or Xray Paintings

bark painting of a spirit waving

Some of the most beautiful Australian Aboriginal bark Paintings using a naturalistic style is found on barks and as rock art across northern Australia. The best-known regions being Oenpelli in the Kimberley. This style is where the internal anatomy of an animal is also shown in the painting, and hence this it is sometimes called X-ray art or Oenpelli bark painting

Wanjina Bark Painting

Bark painting of a Wandjina spirit

According to the Western Australian Museum “Wandjina are usually painted as full-length, or head and shoulder, figures, either standing or lying horizontally. Their large mouthless faces feature enormous black eyes flanking a beak-like nose. The head is usually surrounded by a band with outward radiating lines. Elaborate head-dresses are both the hair of the Wandjinas and clouds. Long lines coming out from the hair are the feathers which Wandjinas wore and the lightning which they control. Wandjina ceremonies to ensure the timely beginning of the monsoon wet season and sufficient rainfall are held during December and January, following which the rains usually begin”. Older Wanjina paintings were done on bark until around the 1980’s when canvas became the favoured medium Further information

Port Keats Bark Painting

Bark painting from port keats with sacred symbols

Port Keats Paintings are usually oval in shape and were originally painted on the inside of ceremonial huts. In the 1950′s and 1960′s they were made for commercial sale. These paintings are cultural narratives, populated with motifs and symbols that only the initiated can decipher fully. They are easily distinguished from other barks as they are usually on oval shaped pieces of bark.

Groote Eyland bark painting

Bark painting of a sea shell

The distinguishing feature of Bark paintings from Groote Eylandt is the black background that covers all of the bark, that the painting is done on. Cross hatching or rarkk is similar to Oenpelli barks and often also depict animals but without showing the internal organs. Some painting is also done on Sawfish Bills in this area.

Tiwi Bark Painting and Bathurst Bark Painting

Bark Painting of skin designs by a Tiwi Islander

The Tiwi of Bathurst and Melville Islands paint highly coloured and crosshatched figures and baskets for custom. It wasnt until europeans took an interest that they started painting on bark panels. They transferred traditional designs from body painting onto bark. bark paintings from the Tiwi are rarer than in other areas and old examples are collectable and sort after.

Yirrkala Bark Paintings

bark painting by an Aboriginal from Yirrkala

Eastern Arnhem Land bark painting closely relates to body painting and the designs found on ceremonial objects. Figures are shown against a background of intricate crosshatched designs which indicate clan. The paintings show relationships between the ancestral beings and, features of ancestrally created landscape. The images can be read by the initiated as maps of clan lands.