is an extraordinary historical event. The longest continuous lineage of a culture - 50,000 years - is ending before our eyes. There exists a dwindling number of 'first contact' artists - those orthodox people who grew-up in a traditional way of life in the Central and Western Deserts of Australia.
Unique in history, the Australian Aboriginal people not only survived a harsh landscape for millennia, they did so without developing a written language. Knowledge was passed down through the ages by stories, songs, dances and symbols, along with a mythology.
'Tjkurrpa' and the landscape are intertwined. These stories and symbols were the basis for survival in the desert - where water, food and shelter could be found. The first examples can be seen on ancient rock carvings, or 'petroglyphs', in sacred sites around the desert.
The Aboriginal art movement started in the early 1970's at Papunya, 240km north-west of Alice Springs. Beginning with sacred symbols painted on boards, the movement has matured to now see museum scale masterpieces on canvas that can rival any abstract art the world over.
Just as in any art movement, not everything can be considered 'great'. Like rare coins and precious stones, great paintings are a finite commodity. Each Aboriginal artwork is also an historical document.
Sadly, there is no new generation to pass this orthodox culture and way of life on to. This is the reason the art critic for Time magazine, Robert Hughes, called it "the last great art movement of the 20th Century."
The Australian Aboriginal Art market is poised for growth. A lower Australian dollar plus significant museum shows in the U.S. have renewed international interest in the sector, which represented more than half of the market during the boom into 2007-8. The sector has rationalised with the focus (rightly) moving to quality works by the last of the 'First Contact' people.
According to leading auction house Deustscher and Hackett's Executive Director Damien Hackett, "It will be interesting to look back at 2015-2016 in five years' time - I think people will be amazed at the value."
PIERMARQ has significant expertise in the Aboriginal art market. We have an established network of market insiders to support our research and analysis, so you get the best independent advice. High calibre paintings by 'first contact' artists are rare. PIERMARQ has the finest Aboriginal artworks available in Australia.