'We don't do dots - Ours is lines' - Asserting a barkindji style

Lorraine Gibson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper offers an ethnographic exploration of the assertion of a 'Barkindji style' art: why this matters and to whom it matters. Focusing particularly on the Darling River area of Wilcannia and on the period from the 1980s to the present, the increasing interest in artmaking by local Aboriginal people is considered. Through a dialogue with artists, artworks, and others, the work examines the changing form, design and content of art and the role of art in defining ideas of Barkindji Aboriginal culture and tradition. Invocations by key cultural brokers to produce work that is seen to 'belong to us' is explored in terms of the cultural, political, and personal work that this involves; particularly as this intersects with ideas of artistic freedoms versus artistic direction by cultural brokers. The paper discusses the personal considerations and tensions that come to bear in the processes connected with production of art and its making. In so doing, this paper engages with, and extends, the work of Tacon et al. (2003), Cooper (1994), Kleinert (1994) and Morphy (2001) as this pertains to art 'styles' and material culture from what is widely referred to as south-eastern Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-298
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Aboriginal Australians
  • Art
  • Barkindji
  • Identity
  • Museums
  • Wilcannia


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