While Queensland might be well-known for its enviable weather, its enviable beaches and straight-up just making every other state envious, there is far more to see and do when you look beyond the surf.
Scattered across the Sunny State are Indigenous-run art galleries, each offering a unique perspective and telling their own tales.
There are dozens upon dozens of galleries to check out, so we’ve picked out some favourites, with a few gallery owners giving us some insight into the artwork and artists they display.
Offering shared art and culture workshops, Janbal Gallery teaches visitors about the significance of Aboriginal artwork and the rich culture behind the pieces, as well as learning about Aboriginal ochre paints, Indigenous art history and painting techniques.
The owner of Janbal Gallery, Brian ‘Binna’ Swindley, says the gallery is approaching 14 years since opening its doors.
“When visitors come to the gallery, the first thing I say to them is ‘Yalada’, meaning ‘Welcome’ in my language,” Binna says. “I give them time to look around and then I ask them if they need some help or if they need a little bit more time – if they like an artist or owner of a painting, I tell them what the painting is all about.”
When you’re there, keep an eye out for artwork by Albert Namatjira, as Binna explains “he’s the first Indigenous artist in his country and he’s also famous for his watercolour landscapes.”
Janbal Gallery, just over an hour’s drive north of Cairns, is open 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday, however Binna says an online shop will also be opening up soon.
Owned by Birrunga Wiradyuri, Birrunga Gallery and Dining is the only Indigenous-owned and operated cultural space in Meanjin (Brisbane) city.
While Birrunga Gallery showcases a slew of artwork, its space is also dedicated to hosting cultural awareness classes, performances and offers gallery tours as well as a cafe and wine bar.
If you’re planning your trip, ensure you’re there for the second Saturday of every month (extend your trip if you have to), as the Birrunga Gallery hosts a market dedicated to showcasing local First Nations creative enterprises.
While not one specific gallery per se, Culture Connect is an awesome route to go down if you want to immerse yourself in as much culture as possible in a half-day, full-day or two-day trip.
Traditional Owners spearheading Culture Connect offer countless tours and experiences, including 4WD Aboriginal rock art, coastal survival and scenic flights over the Daintree Rainforest.