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About Us

OzAboriginal was formed in 1992. Initially located in a warehouse that was primarily used for the distribution of Indigenous products, the organisation began to grow as new skills were learnt and a clear identity was formed. Local Indigenous artists joined the organisation that did traditional painting on artefacts, canvas and giftware. OzAboriginal, provides meaningful employment to local artists whilst allowing them the opportunities to develop their own artistic and commercial profile.

Since 1992, over 15 art centres, local and interstate Indigenous artists are now associated with OzAboriginal.

OzAboriginal product line includes, fine art, artefacts, giftware, curios, leather and fashion accessories, homewares, soft furnishings, bags, stationary, Cross Cultural Products - papier mache lacquerware, chainstitch rugs and cushion covers and much more.

OzAboriginal licensing portfolio showcases some of the most important art centres and emerging artists in the contemporary Indigenous art community such as Warumpi, Keringke, Iwantja, Jukurrpa, Tjapukai, Ernabella, Kaltjiti, Indigenart, Baribunma- Pam Brandy Hall, Lee-Anne Hall, Paige Brandy, Tobwabba, Gumaroi, Gumbooya/Gavala, Allana Rose, Walkatjarra, Bessie Liddle, Whittons, Phillip Hall, Tjapukai Artists and Colin Jones

OzAboriginal is a signatory to the Indigenous Art Code, members of the Indigenous Art Trade Association, Australian Made Campaign, Fair Trade Association (Australia) and has accreditation from Craftmark Fair Trade.

Indigenous Art Code: As a signatory to the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct we are committed to ethical and transparent business dealings with Indigenous visual artists and abide by the standards set out in the code.

Information and FAQ

The OzAboriginal Experience - visit us @ 222 Georges River Road Croydon Park New South Wales
OzAboriginal showcases Aboriginal Art and artefacts, Fine Art, Indigenous giftware, homewares and fashion accessories. Many pieces are exclusive and unique.
We offer the following for your convenience and to enhance your experience

  • Qualified multilingual staff in Indigenous arts and culture.
  • Eftpos facilities, we accept most credit cards.
  • Pack and Post anywhere in the world, Free gift wrapping
  • Air conditioned/heating, courtesy seat
  • Indigenous background music and the aroma of indigenous herbal bush fragrances
  • Ample council parking in side street (Clyde Street), loading dock at rear
  • Close to bus stop, pub, cafe and eateries
  • In house canvas stretching.
  • Discounts on multiple purchases and incentives for loyal returning customers.
  • Disability Ramp access
  • Discounts for Indigenous persons on all cultural identity products - Aboriginal flag range

Trade Accounts

  • Only applies to registered businesses with ABN or international equivalent
  • Ongoing customer support and product information
  • Orders despatched with 72 hours
  • 30 day accounts, with early settlement discount options, Interest may be charged on overdue accounts that exceeds an unreasonable amount of time
  • Access to wholesale website for online orders and wholesale prices
  • Freight charges are in line with local Couriers or Australia Post published prices
  • Free freight anywhere in Sydney providing orders are above $300 AUS
  • Reply Paid postal address available for any returned stock
  • All goods delivered by OzAboriginal remain the property of OzAboriginal until all debts owing by the customer to OzAboriginal have been paid.

Commissioned works

Our artists can design a unique art piece for your home or corporate space while maintaining authenticity and cultural value. The body of work is inclusive of a certificate of authenticity and the related story.

Consumer Information

Authenticity: Authentic Indigenous arts and crafts refer to arts and crafts made by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons, from start to finish. It includes contemporary works and works that draw from indigenous traditional practices and beliefs.

Authentic Indigenous art products are products reproducing Indigenous art, such as lacquerware, greeting cards, bags and accessories, produced under a fair licence agreement, where royalties are paid to Indigenous artists

Royalties: Indigenous people should share in the benefits and receive proper returns and royalties for the use of their cultural heritage material. As copyright owners of artistic work, artists are entitled to receive payment for authorized uses of their works. A royalty is the name given to payments that copyright owners receive for authorizing the use of their works. Once an artwork has been created and sold, the artist can still control the copyright and receive income from it.

Indigenous Merchandising: Not everyone can afford an original piece of Indigenous art or craft however there is an affordable alternative. Licensed products are reproductions of the original work of art whereby the artist receives royalties on each sale. The purchase of any licensed product will benefit the artists and gives the consumer the joy of owning a lovely Indigenous product.

Why are some licensed products made off shore? There is no industry in Australia that can produce the product at a reasonable cost such as leather accessories, rugs and giftware. Or there is no industry in Australia that can produce a particular product. For some types of products- Australia does not have the raw materials or skills to reproduce the art at a cost effective way. These include chainstitch rugs/cushion covers, leather and papier maché products. These materials and techniques are skills predominately found in the sub continent of India. Hence, the creation of the Cross Cultural Ethical Fair Trade Project. A project that implements and promotes ethical fair trade and creates a unique indigenous exchange between cultures. In order to promote and protect aspects of Indigenous Arts and Crafts there are licensing Agreements. Certificates, Labels of Authenticity and Collaboration Marks which are designed to assist consumers in ensuring that the Aboriginal products they purchase are created by Aboriginal artist.

How do I know it's authentic? The labels are an indication of whether the product is authentic or 'copycat'. They are a secure way for consumers to know that the art, craft, souvenirs and other work is the authentic product of either an Indigenous creator or is collaboration between Indigenous creators and others and not a "rip-off" The benefits of purchasing products with the correct labelling are:

  • The artists will receive a fair return on sales from their art
  • Consumers will recognise products originating from Aboriginal people who are speaking in the proper way about their stories
  • Visitors will learn more about the different Aboriginal traditional and contemporary styles of art and stories from across Australia
  • It will prevent further exploitation of Indigenous Arts and Crafts.

What to look for: The label on the product should clearly state-

  • A description of the work of art and product
  • Identify the Artists/s or Art Centres
  • Identify their origin, tribe or location
  • Identify the full royalty statement for licensed products

Buyer's choice on licensed merchandise: With all OzAboriginal products, the consumer has a choice whether to buy an original product made by an Indigenous Artist at the price that the artist believes is fair or they can purchase a licensed product at a lower cost. Unfortunately they cannot buy an original at the licensed price. Always remember the golden rule to buying any art: 'you must like it '

Photo Disclaimer: OzAboriginal is reluctant to use photographic images of Indigenous artists in its marketing. However, whenever images are used the following disclaimer is stated: "Ethical Fair Trade: In respecting the traditional laws and spirituality of Indigenous culture, images of the artists are sensitively produced only with their direct permission".

Manufacturers Handicraft Disclaimer: Being a handicraft item it is difficult to guarantee exact shade, colour, size, weight, texture or construction of the finished goods. As a general rule no two pieces will be the same and chances of slight variations cannot be ruled out. This variation adds to the uniqueness of the product. However, we strive hard and always endeavour to give the best quality at competitive prices. We strictly adhere to only using environmentally friendly materials and fast colour dyes. We are against the use of carcinogenic dyes in leather, jute, fabric and papier mache laquerware products.

Why some Aboriginal Artist do not sign their work: Signing is a 'white man's thing' that was introduced to Indigenous artist back in the 1960's. Some artist don't sign for various reasons, others believe the portrayal of their dreamtime stories is their claim to ownership.

Why some Aboriginal artist paints the same subject matter: Traditional Aboriginal artists can only paint what they are permitted as determined by their elders. These stories are given to them at a young age in which they become the custodians of these stories. They undertake the responsibility of passing the stories onto the next generation, ensuring that culture is not lost in time and to outside influences. Although the subject matter remains the same - variations in scale, colour, size and detail occur and no two are ever alike.

Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal Art is part of a living tradition, perhaps the oldest continuous art tradition in the world. It is the visual expression of a religion, which has its origins in antiquity. Serious practitioners of the ceremonies have maintained the traditional art forms throughout the deserts of Australia and in the far northern areas. Like all forms of cultural expression, Aboriginal art is constantly adapting and changing with time. Even the traditional arts, those that express the religion, land and dreaming, reveal the individuality of each artist, and constantly incorporate new ideas patterns and materials, men and women have their own parallel expressive arts.

The Dreaming: The spiritual life of Aboriginal people centers on the Dreaming which provides the great themes of art. The Dreaming, known as Jukurrpa, describes the natural and moral order of the universe.
It relates to the period from the genesis of the universe to a time beyond living memory. The word Dreaming refers to a state of reality beyond the ordinary. The Dreaming focuses on the activities and epic deeds of the supernatural beings and creator ancestors who, in both human and non-human form, traveled across the unshaped world creating everything in it and laying down the laws of social and religious behaviour. The dreaming provides the framework by which human beings live and the powers, which permit life to continue.
The entire continent of Australia is covered by an intricate web of Dreamings. Some Dreamings relate to a particular place or region and belong to those who live there. Among the major Dreamings are Ancestral beings such as the Rainbow Serpent which figure in major ceremonial cycles.

Utopia: Utopia lies 240km north-east of Alice Springs, on the eastern perimeter of the western Desert 'bloc', astride the traditional lands of the Eastern Anmatyerre and Alyawarre peoples. The territory of the Eastern Arrernte comes up from the south to meet it. Utopia was the name of the first pastoral lease taken out on the area in 1927, with the usual effect of depopulating traditional areas of occupancy as local tribesmen and women were drawn to homestead encampments to work as stockmen (and sometimes women) and domestics. In 1977, the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission acquired the lease for the Utopia community and precipitated a move back to heritage country similar to what was happening on nearby Mt Allan Station. People began to establish themselves at isolated encampments on their traditional lands, ignoring attempts by the Northern Territory government to establish a centralized settlement along the lines of Papunya and Yuendumu. The successful land claim in 1979 returning the lands to the Utopia community under unalienable freehold title accelerated this process, which has proven an effective way of accommodating the region's cultural diversity.
The Batik program was started in 1977 by school teacher Toly Sawkeno and adult educator Jenny Green as a source of income for the women who could be adapted to the widely dispersed demographic structure of Utopia. In the preparations for the land claim hearings, and the presentations of traditional culture, which that process involved, it acquired new significance. During the hearings the women displayed their batiks to demonstrate the economic viability of the outstations, and also an expression of their Dreaming rights and responsibilities to the country. The Utopia work was immediately distinctive for its rawness and energy, arising partly from the camp conditions in which it was produced, and partly from the women's attitude to the activity. A succession of art advisers appointed to Utopia encouraged them in these bold, exploratory attitudes to the work and within a few years they were beginning to carve out a niche for themselves alongside such long-established enterprises as Ernabella Arts Inc.
In 1988-89 one hundred canvasses and the four basic colours of the Aboriginal palette - black, white, yellow ochre and red ochre - were distributed and 81 artists participated in the 'Summer Project' painting on canvas. The works were initially placed on the market individually, but were later purchased as a group by Holmes a Court collection. Later that year they were exhibited as 'A Summer Project: Utopia Women's Paintings (The First Works on Canvas)'. Jeannie Petyarre and her two sisters Gloria and Kathleen were part of this amazing project. The exhibition produced a dramatic and almost instantaneous alteration in the perception of the Utopia artists within the local art world.

Indigenous Cross Cultural Projects

Bridging the economic, creative and cultural gap between Australian Indigenous communities and global communities - through the arts and crafts.
In 1992, with the collaboration of indigenous artists and art centres, OzAboriginal pioneered the Indigenous Cross - Cultural Projects. These projects implement and promote ethical fair trade that creates meaningful employment, which generates income for both communities. The cross-cultural projects are an Indigenous exchange between cultures whereby Australian Indigenous artists provide their original designs to craftsmen in other regions of the world for their dreamtime stories to be reproduced on various mediums that are not locally available in Australia. Skilled Kashmiri master craftsman using traditional techniques and materials, which are unique to their region, ethically reproduce the artwork while maintaining the Indigenous cultural value. The diverse range of products produced under this scheme in other world communities include: chainstitch rugs and cushion covers, papier mache lacquerware, leather and accessories. These licensed products depict authentic aboriginal art and royalties are paid to the Aboriginal artists which benefits the art centre and Indigenous community.

Cross Cultural Projects - The OzAboriginal and the Kashmiri Connection

One of our Directors, Aadil Jan, an ex-patriot of Kashmir with a strong cultural connection to the handicraft industry, overseers and ensures that all projects comply with the fair trade charter and overseers quality control, liaising with government departments (Handcraft Board, Indian Arts Council and Craftmark). Aadil witnesses the benefits of micro-financing projects, including the benefits of the established Cross Cultural Projects which sustains and supports the continuation of traditional skills in the community and provide education, health care and a valuable contribution to local infrastructure projects.

Working directly with the Kashmiri artisans ensures that no conflicting factors arise. Hence, this guarantees that organic textiles and environmentally safe dyes are only used, there is NO child labour, ensures the creation of sustainable employment particularly for women and paid fair wages.

The Projects

  • Cross Cultural Project 1.Chainstitch rugs and cushion covers*
  • Cross Cultural Project 2. Papier Mache Lacquerware - giftware and fashion accessories*
  • Cross Cultural Project 3. Tufted Rugs*
  • Cross Cultural Project 4. Leather Bags and Accessories
  • Cross Cultural Project 5. Cotton homewares and fashion accessories

* Notes: The papier mache lacquerware, tufted rugs, chainstitch rugs and cushion covers, are made by master craftsman in Kashmir, the techniques used are unique to this region. The craftsman are registered and governed by the Handicraft Board of Kashmir, this Board also overseers the quality, ethical fair trade and ensures no child labour is used. The cottage craft of papier mache and chainstitch furnishings making provides much needed income to families as well as schooling and healthcare: as the region of Kashmir has been particularly hard hit by territorial unrest, violence and the downturn in tourism making life difficult.

Background to Kashmir: Kashmir is the northernmost state of India situated in the Himalayan Mountains. Kashmir is not only home to the vast cultural and ethnic diversity but also to a myriad of arts and crafts that have been carefully nurtured over the centuries. A variety of motifs, techniques and crafts flourished in this land as the people from different regions flocked through the beautiful place and many of the skilled craftsmen decided to settle amidst its charming abundance of natural beauty. With time, these arts have gained even more distinctiveness and today Kashmir is known for woollen textiles, Pashmina shawls, embroidered suits, Kashmir silk saris, papier mache, woodcarving and hand knotted carpets. The diversity of crafts from Kashmir reflects its rich cultural heritage passed down from antiquity to modern times.

Papier Mache: To make papier mache, first paper is soaked in water till it disintegrates. It is then pounded, mixed with a natural adhesive solution, shaped over moulds and allowed to dry and set before being painted and varnished.

Chain Stitch and Crewel Furnishings: Because of the high quality of embroidery done on wall hangings and rugs, Kashmiri crewel work is in great demand all over the world. Chain stitch, be it in wool, silk or cotton, is done by hood rather than needle.

Kashmir: a land of potential: Kashmir is vested with a substantial water resource, mineral base, and is famous the world over for its exquisite handicrafts, tourism, horticulture produce and cottage industry. However, the state in many respects has problems of isolation, backward and inaccessible areas, a lack of an industrial base and employment opportunities coupled with volatile political unrest and border issues. Therefore in order to promote prosperity and ensure equitable economic development throughout the region, the government has been encouraging the flow of investments in this area, an initiative to aid and help in utilizing local skills and raw materials to its advantage.

Important Links

The Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association (Art.Trade) is the national organisation for persons and organisations experienced in the business of indigenous art, it promotes the ethical trade of indigenous art.

The Indigenous Art Code (The Code)
aims to ensure fair trade with Indigenous artists, it promotes fair and transparent dealings within the Industry.