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Article: Investing in Corporate Art

Australian Aboriginal art dot paintings

Investing in Corporate Art

Mainie Aboriginal Art Gallery, 81 - 91 Scott Street, Bungalow, Cairns

At the Mainie Aboriginal Art Gallery in Cairns, we specialise in original artworks by highly esteemed Aboriginal artists from two of Australia’s most important arts centres, Utopia and the Warlukurlangu Artists.

Utopia represents Aboriginal artists located on the remote Outback homelands of the Alyawarre and Anmatyerre people in Central Australia. The region is the birthplace of internationally acclaimed Aboriginal artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Gloria Petyarre and Minnie Pwerle. 

The Warlukurlangu Artists community-based enterprise is one of the longest running and most successful Aboriginal-owned art centres in Central Australia. Founded in 1985, Warlukurlangu is a stronghold for the preservation of the traditional language and culture of the Warlpiri Aboriginal people, whose ancestral homelands extend across the remote Tanami Desert region, north west of Alice Springs.

Prominent Warlukurlangu artists include Bessie Nakamarra Sims, Jeanie Napangardi Lewis, Alma Nungarrayi Granites, and Pauline Napangardi Gallagher.

Every artwork on display at the Mainie gallery has been chosen for its inherent investment value. Authentic Aboriginal art is a proven sound investment for many reasons, the first and foremost of these being the special place that Australia’s unique Indigenous cultural heritage holds in human history. 

Australia is home to the world’s oldest living culture. Anthropologists believe that Aboriginal people arrived on the Australian continent around 60,000 years ago and lived here relatively undisturbed by events in the outside world until the founding of the first British colonies in the late 18th century. 

In the remote regions of Central Australia, the desert tribes were among the last Aboriginal people to make contact with Europeans. Even up until the 1980s, Aboriginal people were still making their first encounters with white people on their homelands in the vast and uncharted desert regions of the Australian Outback. 

Due to their isolation from what was happening beyond the borders of their own homelands, the Aboriginal tribespeople in the Central Desert region were able to maintain much of their physical and spiritual connection to their ancient traditions that dated back to the dawn of humankind. In many desert communities, time honoured ceremonies and customs are still being observed to this day.

Traditional Aboriginal art provides the world with an unbroken link to the Paleolithic era of human history. Dreaming stories as old as time itself are depicted in intricate dot paintings where every colour, line and shape is laden with meaning and significance.     

Arts centres like Utopia and Warlukurlangu provide a place where ancestral stories and traditional knowledge, that have been passed down to the artists over the millennia, can be preserved for future generations.

Paintings by older, traditional Aboriginal artists, and particularly deceased artists, are highly prized by serious art collectors.  Many seminal works by the pioneering artists who were founders of the original Central Desert arts movement have long since left Australian shores and are now on display in major museum and gallery collections around the world.

Although the Aboriginal art market has been marred in the past by unethical practices including art theft, unlicensed reproductions, and the sale of fake art, the introduction of the Indigenous Art Code in 2010 has done much to restore confidence in the industry among art buyers.

The purpose of the Indigenous Art Code is to establish standards for commercial dealings between art dealers and artists and to ensure the fair and ethical trade in artworks. 

The Mainie Aboriginal Art Gallery is an approved dealer member of the Indigenous Art Code and ensures that all artworks on display are ethically acquired from Aboriginal owned art centres and reputable art dealers.

With this assurance in mind, leading financial planning advisory company, the Fowler Group, recently acquired two original paintings from the Mainie gallery for their corporate offices in Cairns. 

Both paintings were produced by renowned Utopia artists. One is a stunning canvas called My Mother’s Story by highly collectible Utopia Aboriginal artist, Betty Mpetyane Club, and the other is, Awelye for Sugarbag by Jessie Hunter Petyarre.

Fowler Group Principal Advisor, Jason Fowler said, “Through our investment in authentic and ethically sourced Aboriginal artworks, our company is demonstrating its support of Australia’s First Nations people and their traditional cultural heritage.” 

Fowler Group Principal Advisor, Jason Fowler and Mainie Executive Director, Denis Keeffe

Jason also said that the Fowler Group has a long held and genuine commitment to supporting local Cairns businesses like the Mainie Aboriginal Art Gallery. 


The Betty Mpetyane painting takes pride of place in the Fowler Group’s Lake Street head office reception area.  

Betty Mpetyane is the daughter of the late Minnie Pwerle, one of Australia’s most famous traditional Aboriginal artists. Before she passed away, Minnie gave permission to her daughter, Betty to continue to paint her distinctive Dreamtime designs. 

 Aboriginal Art Jessie Hunter Petyarre

Awelye for Sugarbag by Jessie Hunter Petyarre is also on display in the Fowler Groups’s corporate headquarters.  The painting depicts the collection of the bush honey made by native bees. Awelye refers to the traditional designs that women painted on their bodies for dance ceremonies. The painting is a superb example of the intricate and highly detailed dot work that is characteristic of the Utopia art movement.

All Aboriginal artworks at the Mainie Aboriginal Art Gallery are presented with impeccable provenance including the artist’s interpretation of their work and a Certificate of Authenticity to confirm the artwork’s value as a genuine investment piece.   

For corporate art investors, there has never been a better time to acquire an authentic Aboriginal artwork. Under current Australian Tax Office provisions, art purchases are eligible for the Instant Asset Write Off.

For more information about authentic Aboriginal art, please visit Mainie online at


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