Located on beautiful Wardandi Noongar country, BRAG serves as a vital cultural centre for Aboriginal artists living in the South West. In acknowledgement of our place on Country, the gallery is dedicated to supporting and celebrating the work of Noongar artists as a fundamental aspect of our operations.
Funded by the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) program, BRAG’s Noongar Arts Program (NAP) is dedicated to providing participating artists with exhibition opportunities, retail space, and professional development support to enhance their practice
Located in the Gallery, the NAP retail shop space showcases, celebrates and presents for sale, a selection of dynamic works created in the program.
For generations, Noongar artists have been intimately connected to their ancestral lands, expressing their profound connection through the medium of painting. This rich tradition finds its roots in the early 1940s when artists like Reynold Hart, Revel Cooper, Parnell Dempster, and others at the Carrolup Mission began to depict their landscapes on canvas.
Notably, the catalyst for this artistic journey was Noel White, the principal at Carrolup, who recognized the children’s raw talent and generously provided them with improved materials. Their newfound resources enabled them to create stunning landscape paintings that transcended the confines of the mission, marking the inception of the Carrolup painting tradition.
The artistry of Carrolup’s young talents gained regional recognition through exhibitions, with a pivotal moment occurring at the Boans exhibition in Perth. Here, Florence Rutter was captivated by the artworks and, upon learning they were the creations of children, felt compelled to visit Carrolup Mission. Subsequently, she embarked on a mission to introduce these young artists to a global audience, taking their works across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the USA. Today, their masterpieces find a home in the prestigious Colgate University Art collection.
This historical narrative dispels the misconception that Indigenous art began with the Pupunya community in the early 1970s. Instead, it emphasizes that Carrolup’s young artists were the pioneers, with their early 1940s creations gracing exhibition walls, well before the emergence of the dot art style.
The legacy of Carrolup has left an indelible mark on contemporary Noongar artists, serving as a source of inspiration. Present-day artists, including Shane Pickett, Sharyn Egan, Laurel Nannup, Athol Farmer, Graham Taylor, Philip Hansen, Peter Farmer, Sandra Hill, Chris Pease, and Ben Pushman, continue to explore their artistic voices while addressing the pressing issues affecting their communities.
Among these artists, Lance Chadd stands out as he pays homage to his Uncle Reynold Hart’s landscape paintings while simultaneously crafting his unique style, notably seen in his exquisite South West landscape compositions using gouache on paper.
Today, Noongar artists push the boundaries of artistic expression, venturing into various media such as painting, prints, pottery, photography, digital art, and installations. They firmly establish themselves within the mainstream of contemporary Australian art, with individuals like Lance Chadd, Shane Pickett, and Chris Pease exemplifying the diverse and dynamic aspects of Noongar art.