Australia comes to Prescott

Angela Marcinik

Staff Writer

Australian Aboriginal art is difficult to find in the United States and even more unusual in Prescott. When you walk through the doors of the Vigraha Art Gallery, it feels as though you have stepped into a foreign land. The vibrant reds and luminous oranges of Australian landscapes begin to envelop you.

Of the eight Aboriginal artists on display at Virgraha Gallery, Jeannie Petyarre and Kuddtji Tjungarrayi stand out. Hanging above shelves and tables of Buddhist figures and Hindu deities, the Contemporary Aboriginal Art Exhibition pieces colored the walls.

Tjungarrayi has been painting since the 1980s and is well known in Australia. His compilation of pieces at Vigraha Gallery, titled “My Country,” consists of thick swatches of rich, bright hues: banana yellow to twilight blue and every shade of coral. Whites and blacks contrast sharply against one another. Pure orange and terracotta red pop off solid black backgrounds. Small, exacting strokes or tiny dots compose the overall image or pattern.

Jeannie Petyarre has two notable pieces in the gallery. “It is as if wind is blowing the strokes,” said a gallery patron, contemplating the whirling strokes of white petals. They are composed of heaps of tiny brush strokes moving outward from a single point in the center of the canvas, creating a sense of movement.

Most of the themes and techniques the artists use draw from the history and experiences of the Aboriginal people. The paintings are all acrylic on canvas.

The pieces on display are for purchase, and range in price up to five figures. Within the first week of the exhibition, several pieces had already been sold.

The contemporary Aboriginal art will be on display until May 6. Located at 115 E Goodwin Street in downtown Prescott, Vigraha Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

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