Alison Kelly Australian indigenous art collection goes to auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 2nd May, 2023

Alison Kelly came to prominence in the art world when in 2000 she opened an Aboriginal art gallery in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale about five years after she completed an art history degree as a mature age student.

The gallery, which subsequently moved to Prahran, closed in 2010 following the adverse impact of the global financial crisis two years earlier – but not before Alison had made strong connections with other art collectors, artists and non-profit Aboriginal-owned art centres where she sourced many of her artworks.

Now, the Alison Kelly collection of indigenous art will be auctioned from 6.30pm Monday May 8 by Gibson’s Auctions at 885-889 High Street, Armadale.

Many of the 110 works on offer will allow buyers an affordable entry into the Australian indigenous art market – but even the better-known artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye (circa 1906-1996) are carrying attractive catalogue estimates for first time purchasers.

Two of her works – lot 30, My Country 1994, and lot 23, Awelye Paint – Women’s Corroboree – Body Paint Design – are respectively featured at $25,000-$35,000 and $20,000-$30,000.

Minnie Pwerle (1922-2006) is another favourite with Untitled (lot 7), Awelye Atnwengerrp 2005 (lot 13) and Untitled (lot 18) among her offerings, while George Ward Tjungurrayi has Kaakuratintja 2004 (lot 34) – an eye-catching synthetic polymer on canvas.

Other well-known artists include contemporary painters Gabriella Possum’s Seven Sisters (lot 12), George Tjungurrayi’s Tingari 2000 (lot 14) and Lizzie Pwerle’s My Country 2008 (lot 24).

Worth a closer look are Makinti Napanangka’s (1922-2011) Lupulnga 2002 (lot 2), John John Bennett Tjapangati’s (circa 1930-2002) Tingari 2001 and Naata Nungurrayi’s (1932-2021) Women’s Ceremonies 1998 (lot 8).

One of the most colourful and interesting works is a painting by the Spinifex Women’s Collaboration in 2007 entitled Minyma Tjuta – Women’s Spinifex (lot 9).

It features eight artists including Estelle and Anne Hogan, Carlene West, Kathleen Donegan, Elaine Thomas, Angelina Woods, Beth Kennedy and Nulbinga Simms.

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