• ARTISTS

          Cooee Art has built long-term relationships with Aboriginal and First Nations artists and their not for profit art centres since 1981.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists and develop our exhibition program.

        • Auction Artists

          Cooee Art Auctions works with artists bi-annually across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.

          Read through the profiles and market analysis for the top 200 Indigenous artists

        • SHOP ARTWORKS

          Cooee Art curates ethically sourced art from Australian Indigenous communities that we have formed relationships with for 40 years.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists to consign artworks.

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          Cooee Art gallery artworks arrive in our online shop and our gallery spaces weekly.

          Shop new arrivals that coincide with our monthly exhibition program.

        • All Artworks

          Shop online from the full portfolio of available Cooee Art artworks – paintings, sculptures, fine art prints and artisanal objects ranging from $100 – $500k.

        • EXHIBITIONS

          Cooee Art was established in 1981 and is Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery. 

          The gallery has presented the finest Aboriginal and First Nations art through their exhibition program for over 40 years showing the work of over 150 individual artists.

          The Cooee Art stockroom includes contemporary Aboriginal paintings, rare bark paintings and artefacts, early desert boards and acrylic paintings as well as sculpture and limited edition fine art prints.

        • Current

          Cooee Art presents monthly solo and group exhibitions in the Paddington gallery supported by public programs including artist talks and workshops.

        • Future

          Explore forthcoming exhibitions in the Cooee Art galleries and our special event program.

        • AUCTIONS

          Cooee Art Auctions provide an informed and professional approach to buying and selling art in the secondary market. We are a market leader with specialist knowledge and proven results. 

          We offer collectable Australian and International artworks for sale by auction and private treaty. 

          Cooee Art Auctions work with artists, galleries, museums and private collections bi-annually to curate and consign artworks across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.

          Our auctions and previews for potential buyers and collectors are presented in the Cooee Art premium 480sqm hybrid gallery and auction space in Paddington. 

        • Indigenous Fine Art

          Cooee Art Auctions offers bi-annual auctions of significant and highly-collectible Australian Indigenous artworks.

          Our Art Market Analytics provides comprehensive artist profiles and market analytics on Australia’s 200 most important Aboriginal artists.

        • Auction 8 March 2022

          Introducing Auction March 8 2022 – 7pm start time.

          This auction offers 103 Australian Indigenous Fine Artwork and Artefacts

        • Art Market Analytics

          Cooee Art has created a comprehensive art market analytics tool with easy navigation. The information we provide is designed to be an invaluable resource for art consultants, valuers, and industry professionals and to serve the interests of artists, galleries, institutions, art centres, collectors and researchers.

        • Artist Profiles

          Each artist is ranked according to their career, and annual artist ranking index. Detailed profiles, market analysis and performance indicators are provided for a growing list of artists along with the artworks that have achieved their ten highest results at auction.

        • Current Indigenous Art Market

          Provides professional advice on the Indigenous art market in line with other investment categories, thereby serving the interests of artists, galleries and collectors.

        • Consultancy

          The Cooee Art team has been providing expert advice for over 40 years in a Consultancy capacity to offer a breadth of services for the business side of art.

        • Valuations

          Cooee Art Founding Director Adrian Newstead OAM has more than 20 years experience in valuing Aboriginal art and artefacts (pre-contact to Contemporary).

        • EXHIBITION AND EVENT MANAGEMENT

          Cooee Art curates and coordinates exhibitions on behalf of charitable organisations, commercial businesses and galleries in Australia and overseas utilising its extensive contacts with individual artists, artists’ agents, galleries and important private and public collections.

        • Venue Hire | Talks & Tours

          The gallery occupies the ground floor of a distinctive and prominently located building only minutes from Surry Hills, Redfern, and Waterloo’s art districts. Originally the headquarters and state-of-the-art factory of Foster Clark custard, 17 Thurlow St later became the studio and assembly for iconic Australian artist Ken Done. Now, Cooee Art’s flagship gallery, the space has been designed with a modern aesthetic whilst retaining elements of its past. A blank canvas, the space offers versatility to cater for a variety of purposes – including private events, art exhibitions, launch events, photo shoots, or performances.

        • Venue Hire

          Cooee Art is the ideal venue for hosting corporate and private functions. Our expansive 480m2 gallery is in the heart of Aboriginal Sydney, Redfern. 

        • Talks & Tours

          Cooee Art offers regular talks with artists, guest curators and conducts regular lectures in our gallery.

        • ABOUT

          Cooee Art was originally established in 1981 and runs a hybrid art model to represent and support artists in an ethical and sustainable way. We have two galleries, our flagship gallery in the heart of Aboriginal Sydney in Redfern and a boutique showroom gallery in Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach along with a seperate fine art auction wing, Cooee Art Auctions established in 2017. Cooee is now Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery. Since first working with Australian Aboriginal artists in 1981, we have presented the finest First Nations art through exhibitions and events in Australia, Europe, and the Americas.

  • Contact

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Peter Marralwanga

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Profile

Peter Marralwanga resided for most of his life at the remote outstation of Marrkolidjban, in Western Arnhem Land. Although he moved to the nearby government settlement at Maningrida to lobby for formal recognition of his outstation in the 1960's, he soon returned to country, driven by a dislike of the lifestyle and concerns of foraging mining companies on Kunwinjku lands. Bark painter Yirawala shared Maralwanga’s desire for an outstation at Marrkolidjban as his clan lands lay in the surrounding country.  The two forged a close friendship and it was under Yirawala’s tutelage that, around 1970, Maralwanga began to transfer his great ceremonial knowledge onto barks that were sold for an income that proved vital for the economic viability of their outstation.

Naturally, Marralwanga was greatly influenced by Yirawala, particularly in the use of cross-hatching or rarrk in-fill, derived from the designs of the Mardayin ceremony. Yirawala has been attributed as the first Kunwinjku artist to adopt these designs into their bark paintings. There was a marked stylistic difference between these and barks created earlier, which imitated the x-ray manner of rock painting without a great deal of decorative in-fill. Maralwanga was innovative with his rarrk techniques and empowered many of the next generation of artists, such as John Mawurndjul and his own sons Ivan Namirrkki and Samuel Namunjdja to continue experimentation and invention in their works. However, Maralwanga differed from these younger artists, particularly Mawurndjul, who allows rarrk designs to drive his work into pure abstraction. In contrast, Marralwanga’s compositions always centered upon the figurative, to which the rarrk designs remained subservient while altering the formal convention of the rarrk’s colour sequencing and orientation in order to illuminate, to its utmost, the flow and movement of the figure.

Marralwanga explained the interplay in his work, between stylistic conventions and his own personal interpretation, as being ‘half secret one, half ordinary one' (cited in Taylor 2004: 123); one half being determined by Marralwanga’s own emotional response to every day life on the land and the other half by the more formalised spiritual connotations of that same land. Thus Marralwanga’s work carries layers of meaning. At one level, that of his distinct visual aesthetic and interpretation, but always underneath remains a link to deeper spiritual meaning.

In his rendition of the giant creator spirit Luma Luma, complex rarrk designs adorn this central figure of the Mardayin ceremony to evoke its power to transform upon death into the sacred objects, which the ceremony centers upon. While in Mimi Spirit Dancing at Catfish Ceremony 1979 he portrays a large catfish of the type caught in fish-traps during the run-off of the rivers at the end of the wet season. The scale of the fish allowed him to explore the subtleties of rarrk and contrast these with the bold colours and shapes of the fish's tail and backbone. A Mimi spirit dances to the lower right to indicate that it was the Mimi who taught Marralwanga’s ancestors to hunt and fish and who gave this power totem to them. And in his depiction of Yingara, the Rainbow serpent, the weed in the waterholes is the hair of his second born daughter, the mermaid-like Ngalkunburruyayami, while the vines growing in the nearby trees are the feathered strings she and his son, Ngalod, carried.

Marralwanga’s scope of subjects was diverse and revealed a profound and deeply spiritual knowledge.  As Luke Taylor lamented during a conversation with Marralwanga about the mermaid-like Yawk Yawk spirits, while ‘we can begin to learn the outside aspects of spirituality in these works, I don’t believe that non-Aboriginal people can progress to feeling this spirituality in exactly the same way as the artist' (1991: 26).

Peter Marralwanga was a truly great painter who lived and died before Aboriginal art gained its current national and International prominence. In 1981 and 1983 he had solo exhibitions with Mary Macha at Aboriginal Traditional Arts in Perth and at the time was second only in recognition to his lifelong friend and countryman Yirawala as the most influential Kunwinjku artists of their generation.  His works were included in the important landmark exhibitions; A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art in 1989, Aboriginal Art and Spirituality in 1991 and Crossing Country – the Alchemy of Western Arnhem Land Art in 2004 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

MARKET ANALYSIS

Peter Marralwanga created paintings for close to 20 years and during that time institutions collected many of his finest works. He began painting prior to the formation of any art centres in Arnhem Land and sold works to Dorothy Bennett, Jim Davidson and others, who infrequently visited his outstation on buying trips. Marralwanga became an active member of Maningrida Arts and Culture upon its establishment in the late 1960’s and, in the absence of all but a few private galleries, it was through the Government owned Aboriginal Arts and Crafts marketing company that he gained greater recognition as it opened galleries in each of the State capitals between 1970 and 1987.

His work first appeared on the secondary market in 1994 when all three of those offered failed to sell. However, over the next three years his paintings fared much better with all nine of those offered finding willing buyers. Overall his success rate is a very healthy 76% at auction, although his best year was as long go as 1999, the year his record sale was achieved for Untitled (Saltwater Crocodile) c.1972. This large bark measuring 210 x 90 cm sold for $21,850 at Sotheby's in June of that year against a presale estimate of  $15,000-25,000 (Lot 15).  The painting is of exquisite beauty and detail, with shades of purple ochre unique to Marralwanga’s country. Though it is characteristic of his style in its diverse arrangement of the clan design that illuminates the rotund crocodile in motion, its age and subject sets it apart from many of his other works. A white figure sits above the figure of the Crocodile lying on a vast plain background, clearly resembling an artifact of some ethnographic importance. In contrast, works such as Mimih Spirit Dancing at Catfish Ceremony 1979 are distinctive for their innovative pattern and intricacy, This work sold for a considerable $13,200 at Sotheby’s in July 2005 when estimated at $10,000-15,000 (Lot 56). And in November 2006, despite an estimate of just $3,000-4,000 a magnificent Lorrkon, Hollow Log Coffin, c.1977 sold for $10,200, and became his highest priced sculpture to date. (Lot 83).

Despite his success at auction there have been some notable failures. Luma Luma c. 1980 which had sold for $9,200 in 1999, failed to resell in 2006 at an estimate of $15,000- 25,000 despite being a stunning piece. Though smaller than the work that holds his record, it was still a substantial painting measuring 172.5 x 50.5 cm and certainly looked to have all the ingredients required to break a record that had stood for seven years. In the buoyant mood of the market, its failure to sell seems to indicate that Marralwanga’s works may have reached a plateau. Another minor work, Jati the Frogs, 1975, failed to sell at Sotheby’s in 2003 while carrying an estimate of $4,000-6,000 and when offered a year later with an estimate of just $2,000-3,000 failed once more to find a buyer. Though his best works achieve good prices, only nine have sold for more than $10,000. This is not particularly encouraging when compared to results achieved by many far less important desert painters. His average price for paintings is low at just $5,374 yet both of the sculptures that have appeared to date have sold at an average price of $6,780.

While his sale rate is high, there is no doubt that the trajectory of Marralwanga’s works on the secondary market has, undeservedly in my opinion, not compared favourably to that of his contemporary Yirawala. Though some of Marralwanga’s works, particularly of crocodile headed rainbow serpents appear a little frightening, perhaps even garish to the Western eye, his works are unique and his figures are animated and full of life. He is an artist who is certainly worthy of far greater recognition by serious collectors. During 2010 two sales entred his top ten results, as well as one in 2011. Though Sotheby's  July 2010 sale suffered poor results, Maralwanga’s lively Yawk Yawk bark (Lot 82) become his third highest career result selling for $11,400. Another powerful Namarnkon (Lightning Man) image became his ninth best result. During 2011 he was the 95th best performer, bringing his AIAM ranking to135th amongst all artists of the movement. 2017 saw another work displace previous top ten results, when Borlung the Rainbow Serpent sold for $11,780. There is reason to believe that this success should be sustained over the years ahead.

MARKET PERFORMANCE

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
0.0000 0.0917 0.0000 0.0600 0.1095 0.2736 0.3038 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.3012 0.1697 0.1149 0.0000 0.1772 0.0681 0.0541 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0822
0/0 1/1 0/0 1/2 2/2 3/4 5/6 0/1 0/0 0/0 4/6 2/3 1/2 0/0 3/3 1/1 1/1 0/0 0/0 0/1 0/0 1/1
$0 $8,400 $0 $3,600 $3,000 $8,320 $3,693 $0 $0 $0 $5,670 $7,200 $13,200 $0 $3,488 $4,636 $2,928 $0 $0 $0 $0 $6,750
Yearly Market Performance Graph from 2000 -

top 10 Historical artwork sales

1

Untitled, C.1950

auction: Cooee Art Sydney lot: 64 date: 08/06/2021
81 x 44 cm Natural earth pigments on bark

$6,750.00
2

Untitled, C.1950

auction: Cooee Art Sydney lot: 64 date: 08/06/2021
81 x 44 cm Natural earth pigments on bark

$6,750.00
3

Kolobarr the Kangaroo, C.1973

auction: Cooee Art Sydney lot: 13 date: 03/12/2019
88 x 51 cm Natural earth pigments on stringy bark

$0.00
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Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021