Saltwater Freshwater Art: Contemporary Aboriginal Art from the Mid North Coast of NSW

Aboriginal Art Directory | 16.02.11

The Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance is proud to present this unique publication of 39 Aboriginal visual artists from the Mid North Coast of NSW. This will be the first time that Aboriginal artists from the Mid North Coast have been presented in such a comprehensive and cohesive way.

“The Saltwater Freshwater branding represents what is unique to our region; the meeting of the saltwater and the freshwater from the Pacific Ocean to the Great Dividing Range. It is symbolic of the coming together of the saltwater and freshwater communities to strengthen the cultural identity of the 11,000 Aboriginal people in this region,” says Alison Page, Program Manager of Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance.

The project began with the formation of the visual artist living map – a database of practicing Aboriginal visual artists living between Karuah in the south and Coffs Harbour in the north, which includes Worimi, Birpai, Dunghutti and Gumbaynggirr nations. Approximately 180 artists were unearthed and 39 were selected to appear in this publication.

“The publication represents a moment in time; a snapshot of practicing Aboriginal visual artists that will inspire and lay foundation for the emerging talent, particularly amongst the region’s young people,” says Alison.

The art in this publication is unique in style and contains the stories of these artists and their work. An essay written by Professor Margo Neale, Principal Advisor (Indigenous) and Senior Curator at the National Museum of Australia appears in the book, giving context to the work produced by the Saltwater Freshwater artists, its cultural value and where they sit in the lineage of art history in this country.

“Aboriginal art, like us as a people, was largely invisible until the 1970s. The struggle of Aboriginal people, which has changed over the decades, is clearly visible in the works of this book. They are not radicalized, they do not deal overtly with political subject matter but rather, as a whole they exhibit a sense of connection, belonging and identity,” says Professor Neale.

This publication is ideal for schools, universities and anyone with an interest in Aboriginal art. “Our dream at Saltwater Freshwater is that the community of artists represented in this publication will grow so that the Aboriginal art from this region is as world-renowned as it deserves to be,” says Alison.

This publication has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body.

Saltwater Freshwater Art retails for $39.00 and is available online at and available at selected regional and national galleries.

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