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Brushes with Tradition: Aboriginal Art in Adelaide

Adelaide’s Aboriginal art reflects a profound cultural heritage. This art form portrays ancestral narratives through intricate designs and vivid colors. 

Our team checked our city’s galleries proudly presenting these creations, from the iconic Art Gallery of South Australia to the stunning Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. See the beautiful masterpiece we found!

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8207 7000

Operating Hours: Daily – 10 am to 5 pm


The Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) features notable Aboriginal art, encompassing diverse styles, techniques, and cultural perspectives. 

The gallery’s collection includes traditional paintings, sculptures, textiles, and contemporary Aboriginal artworks. 

Some notable artists with works permanently displayed in AGSA are Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.

Kngwarreye is known for her bold and expressive abstract paintings, often depicting the landscape and Dreaming stories of her ancestral land, Alhalkere, in Central Australia.

Tjapaltjarri is famous for his intricate dot paintings that convey the stories and ceremonies of his Western Desert culture. His piece Warlugulong is a particularly iconic work.


  • AGSA organizes Tarnanthi, a contemporary visual arts festival featuring some of the nation’s most treasured Aboriginal artwork. Consider visiting during the festivities typically taking place from mid-October to late January.
  • Check out the gift shop for unique Indigenous art-related items. 
  • Guided tours offer an excellent opportunity to explore AGSA’s Aboriginal art. A complimentary tour operates between 11 am and 2 pm, but it’s limited to 15 guests.

Larger groups can join the gallery’s Bespoke Gallery Tours, which can accommodate more than 15 people but with additional costs.

Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute

Address: 253 Grenfell St, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8224 3200

Operating Hours:

  • Mon – closed
  • Tue to Sun – 10 am to 5 pm


Tandanya is Australia’s foremost venue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts. This spot effectively furthers reconciliation and insight into these cultures through exhibitions and performances that foster artistic engagement and understanding.

One of the must-see artworks here is Pantjiti Mary McLean’s paintings. McLean is known for her distinctive artistic style rooted in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands of Central Australia. 

Her art often features intricate dot paintings that convey her Indigenous community’s cultural stories and traditions. Critics also praise her vibrant colors and finely detailed patterns, as seen in her magnum opus, Hunting Grounds.

Another team favorite is Rainbow Dreamz, a collection of 150 original artworks by Mali Isabel. Rainbow Dreamz consists of dynamic, colorful, and profound abstract paintings delving into intimate themes of resilience, self-exploration, and inner tranquility. 

The artworks resemble canvas diaries, chronicling a path from adversity and pessimism to embracing, valuing oneself, and gaining insight.

Tip: Visit Tandanya’s gift shop, which sells colorful Aboriginal-themed items like dance boards, purses, lemon myrtle diffusers, and bags.


Address: 19 Morphett StreetTarntanya / Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8414 7225

Operating Hours: Daily – 10 am to 5 pm


JamFactory is a renowned creative hub in Australia, celebrated for its support of artists and craftsmen. They also also have top-tier Aboriginal products in their shop.

Additionally, JamFactory is popular in the Adelaide art scene for offering diverse workshops and studios and encouraging innovative craftsmanship. 

Notable ones include woven baskets by Yvonne Koolmatrie and vibrant paintings by Elizabeth Close.

The ceramics, glassworks, and metal figures crafted by members of the First Nations are worth every penny, too. Other Aboriginal products you need to score here are Bagu-printed tea towels, hand-woven baskets, and gecko plates.


  • Check the JamFactory’s website for current exhibitions to ensure your visit aligns with your interests.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with artists, especially on the opening day of their exhibits. 
  • You can join JamFactory’s art courses if you want to learn new skills or improve your craft. They have sessions for jewelry, glass, ceramic, and furniture-making.
  • If you want a 10% discount every time you shop, consider joining JamFactory’s membership program
  • Don’t forget to swing by non-Aboriginal artwork exhibits, too. We suggest checking Peter Walker’s wood art-centered Tanglewood and Blanche Tilden’s shimmering Ripple Effect.

South Australian Museum

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8207 7500

Operating Hours: Daily – 10 am to 5 pm


The Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery of the South Australian Museum is one of the top places to see Aboriginal art in Adelaide.

This immersive collection encompasses over 3,000 artifacts across two levels. These works represent diverse communities nationwide and are specially picked from the museum’s vast holdings. 

Our team saw distinct and fascinating artworks from nearly 65,000 years of Aboriginal culture, from boomerangs and bark paintings to shields, early records, photographs, and even intact bark canoes. 

The jaw-dropping Yuendemu school doors, intricate and vibrant depictions of Warlpiri cultural elements, and Dreamtime stories can be seen in this gallery too. 

These art pieces showcase 27 Dreamtime stories that symbolize the Warlpiri and Anmatyerre territory.


  • Research or ask about the specific stories and symbols depicted on the doors to better understand their context.
  • If you have the opportunity, ask questions or engage in conversations to gain insights from local experts or guides.
  • This museum also offers a membership program for guests who want discounts.

Indigenu Art of Australia

Address: 131 Sturt St, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: 0404 149 617

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon – Closed
  • Tue – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Wed – Closed
  • Thu to Sun – 9 am to 5 pm


Indigenu Art of Australia is another art gallery offering well-crafted and high-quality Aboriginal artworks, from multi-colored carpets to extremely detailed paintings. Artworks here typically range from $300 to $1,300.

The artworks on display are head-turners, too. Janet Golder’s painting Utopia in Blue and Purple wowed our team’s art enthusiasts with its unique curves and oddly shaped floral figures. 

We also adore Coral Hayes Pananka’s painting of the Seven Sisters story, as its ebony and vibrant hues contrast perfectly. 

Indigenu Art of Australia also works with didgeridoo players, so call them if you’re planning to book one. Additionally, guided art sessions and art demonstrations led by Aboriginal artists are available.


  • Approach the Indigenous art site with reverence for its cultural significance and the stories it carries.
  • Refrain from touching the art unless explicitly permitted, as oils from the skin can harm delicate materials.
  • Plan your visit during quieter times, such as early mornings or late afternoons, to enjoy a more intimate viewing and shopping experience.
  • The shopkeepers are very amiable. Don’t forget to ask questions, especially if you aren’t familiar with Aboriginal art.

Address: 57/59 George St, Thebarton, SA 5031

Contact Details: (08) 8212 4743

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon – Closed
  • Tue to Fri – 10 am to 5 pm
  • Sat to Sun – Closed


APY Gallery Adelaide is an Indigenous-owned gallery dedicated to showcasing and honoring the creative endeavors of emerging South Australian Indigenous artists from the region’s multiple art centers. 

Most of the artworks here are results of community collaborations, with the Umoona Collaborative Arts as the newest one in 2023. 

The designs here often reflect the artists’ close relationship with the natural world, depicting elements such as animals, plants, waterways, and celestial bodies. 

One of the artists who caught our attention was Aileen Adamson, an emerging talent from Kaltjiti Arts in the Fregon community. The theme of Piltati is central to her works, a cultural legacy handed down through generations, originating from her grandmother. 

This theme revolves around the Piltati Tjukurpa, narrating the profound story of two watersnakes, the Wanampi Tjukurpa. Aileen’s brushwork breathes life into this ancient tale.


  • Don’t forget to check the works of other artists like Daisy Barney, Kukika Patricia Fatt, and Kani George.
  • Consider purchasing artwork or related merchandise to support the artists and the gallery. This helps sustain the Indigenous art community.

The mesmerizing artworks here range from $2,000 to $7,000.

  • Before your visit, take some time to research the artists whose work is on display. Daisy Barney, for example, has practiced woodworking, hence the woody symbolism in her paintings.

Marra Dreaming

Address: 22 Commercial Rd, Salisbury, SA 5108

Contact Details: (08) 8285 2311

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Thu – 7:30 am to 1:30 pm
  • Fri to Sun – Closed


Aboriginal women from diverse sections of Australia founded this cultural center in Northern Adelaide. 

Initially established as a creative space for Aboriginal art, it has evolved into a vibrant hub for community engagement and exploration of Aboriginal culture. 

The center offers authentic art pieces crafted by emerging and established Aboriginal artists. These artworks are in Marra Dreaming’s art gallery and are for sale.

Most of the artworks here champion healing and cultural awareness. If you prefer commissioned Aboriginal art, Marra Dreaming’s artists are masters of different mediums.

They can craft wooden Aboriginal crosses, paint canvas paintings or murals, design digital artworks, and even create corporate merchandise and gifts. This spot also sells silks and handicrafts made by talented local artists. 

Tip: Marra Dreaming provides classes in traditional basket weaving, contemporary Aboriginal art, pottery (sculpture and wheel throwing), ceramics and glass painting, and silk painting. 

In addition, they also provide flexible cultural awareness workshops. You can either invite them or visit Marra Dreaming’s site.

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