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4 Tips for Buying Aboriginal Art as Gifts

December 07, 2015 4 min read

Art can be difficult to buy for others given taste in art is so personal. However a well chosen piece can be a cherished and meaningful gift. Aboriginal art has such diversity in styles and colours that it caters to any number of tastes, but of course that doesn't always make it easier when it comes to choosing... 

Over the years, we've watched and listened to hundreds of people buying art as gifts and have developed these 4 simple tips to help you when buying art for others:

1.  Make it meaningful

Given it's personal nature, choosing an artwork that has meaning either to the recipient or you, or is somehow symbolic of the relationship you have, can help make it less about aesthetics and more about the bond you have which is a great starting point.

Perhaps you want to buy something for your sister or someone who feels that way to you, and Dreamtime Sisters' might be meaningful. Have you shared many conversations with this person? Perhaps a community-oriented piece, such as women gathering bush foods or preparing for ceremony, might strike a chord. Maybe Soakages (waterholes) shows you're thinking of their passion for a life on the water, or Atham-areny is symbolic of protection for new parents-to-be. Ask yourself (or them) what their hobbies and interests might be, what their favourite places or experiences are or what is important to them? 

If that's all too deep and meaningful for you, the act of buying aboriginal art because it means something to them or you can be enough in itself.

2.  Go for something you love

Knowing their decorating style and what colours they prefer is a great next step. Everyone's tastes are different so if you just don't know what they will like, choose something that speaks to you. Maybe it's the colours, the smudge in the corner or something you just can't put your finger on, but go with your gut. Chances are, the recipient of your gift will appreciate those same qualities. If not, they will likely see how much you genuinely love it and appreciate it all the more for that. You could be opening their eyes to something new and beautiful in the process.

3.  Play it safe with something popular

If you don't feel like you've narrowed it down any further, play it safe by getting something popular or mainstream for gifts. Don't know what's popular? Do a google search for certain artists or styles to see what shows up in a variety of galleries can be helpful. It's not always the case so be sure to ask galleries as well. Popular art for gifts usually ticks two 'safe' boxes: (1) they are neat and balanced and use complimentary colours making them universally pleasing and (2) they are easily identifiable in some way; you're not challenged to know what it is (or where it comes from). 

At Utopia Lane, the following three styles appeal to people the most when buying gifts, but think of your recipient. 

  1. Wild Flowers. For those new to Aboriginal Art or those who don't follow traditional rules. Wild Flowers is soft yet bold enough to compliment many decorating styles. 
  2. Dreamtime Sisters. Dreamtime Sisters shows a clear cultural iconography depicted in bold mainstream colours. It caters to recipients who both appreciate Aboriginal Art or know very little. 
  3. Traditional dots and symbols. For those wanting something more traditional, where the recipient appreciates the traditional aspect or style, or the clear symbolism, stick with traditional colours, dots and symbols. 

4.  Make it small (or itsy-bitsy)

Larger artworks become centrepieces of decor in the home and require planning and measuring, and therefore are all the more personal. Unless you know for absolute certain what your recipient would like, opt for small pieces. A small piece might be a good starting point for a collection of their own, or to add to an existing one. Small paintings call also make great table-top arrangements and add accents of colour and style to a room without overpowering it.

Small paintings also look great in sets too, allowing for creativity by the recipient to suit the display to their tastes.

Here are a few ideas at Utopia Lane to get you started. 

Aboriginal art gift ideas

1. Sacha Long Petyarre, 30cm x 30cm, $150.00            
2. Jilly Jones Petyarr, 40cm x 20cm, $185.00                  
3. Jeannie Mills Pwerle, 30cm x 30cm, $185.00
4. Marie Ryder, 15cm x 15cm, $85.00
5. Sacha Long Petyarre, 15cm x 15cm, $65.00

6. Alvira Bird Mpetyane,15cm x 15cm, $75.00
7. Lily Lion Kngwarrey, 15cm x 15cm, $75.00
8. Lisa Mills Pwerl, 15cm x 15cm, $65.00
9. Jeannie Mills Pwerle, 30cm x 15cm, $150.00



Prices in AUD.
Prices do not include stretching.

Aboriginal art doesn't need to be protected by a glass frame and looks great stretched. We like to stretch even the itsy-bitsy paintings to stand them on counter-tops and bookshelves...for something different.


If you're buying through us, you can add stretching to your small paintings for an extra $20.00-40.00 and we'll take all the hassle out of doing this for you so it can arrive to you (or whoever you choose) all ready to hang or display*. Or, if you want to do this yourself our small paintings have a 4cm black canvas overhang. We recommend using a 2cm deep stretcher frame so that gives you enough canvas left to wrap and adhere to the frame. 

* For deliveries outside of Australia, be sure to check your country's customs policy to make sure that you can receive this. Our stretcher frames are made from untreated Australian pine.


Want more ideas? Ask our friendly staff to help you choose and find the best options for you. Or, take a look at our pinterest collections for some decorating tips and ideas.

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