Boomerang Art Gallery - Aboriginal Art Gallery

Our Story

After almost 40 years in Law Enforcement in Germany and Australia I retired early in 1996 to open our first Aboriginal Art Gallery in Adelaide. Shortly after we established another Gallery & Studio in Alice Springs. From sunrise to sunset I worked with my Utopia Artists in Alice Springs whilst my wife Elena looked after our Adelaide gallery and our two children. Every two weeks I visited my family for a couple of days and did so for the following 16 years.

Some years ago we decided to close down all to move to the Gold Coast. We bought a property in Southport, spent 2 years to renovate it and today it comprises our gallery plus a large enough living area to accommodate visitors and at times artists.

My claim is not to be an expert in Aboriginal Art and Culture, nor do I speak an Aboriginal language. I simply like our casual and friendly 22 year relationship with our Artists. Sadly too many passed away already. I buy paintings because I love them or at times I try to support an upcoming young Aboriginal artist.
Today as over the last 22 years, Elena and I do all that's required, from preparation, accounting, Internet work, renovation, stretching, packaging, etc without any support in an effort to keep overheads down. To sum up, all of the proceeds of sales is spend to finance workshops with artists or to buy paintings from Aboriginal owned Art Centres located in remote areas of Australia.
To be surrounded by beautiful incredible art creates a feeling that I have difficulties to describe. We love to have people visiting our Gallery with at least two out of three coming from overseas and today our greatest reward is to be able to show our great collection to people interested in Aboriginal Art.

 

Werner with Gloria Petyarre

Most of our Art and artists come from Utopia. We worked with those artists since they have no government funded art centre available for support. They entirely rely on self funded commercial galleries like ours in Alice Springs and interstate. 

WHY ABORIGINAL ART

Coming to Australia as a Migrant I found it exciting to learn about the culture of our new home country.

Elena and I visited many Museums and Aboriginal Art exhibitions overseas and in Australia and we both learned to appreciate and love this unique Art. Our goal for the next phase in our life after retirement became clearer over the years and after Werner gave up his job we established our business.

It was an exciting time. Kathleen Petyarre painted for us in Adelaide, Gloria Petyarre was a regular visitor in my Alice Springs gallery and I travelled almost every month to Utopia to visit Lindsay Bird and many other artists supplying materials and picking up completed paintings some weeks later.

The most pleasant working and business relationship developed with Barbara Weir, a famous Indigenous artist who traveled the world. She painted many paintings for us and with her help we were able to secure a large collection of paintings by Minnie Pwerle (her mother) as well. When Minnie died, Barbara brought her Aunties to my Studio and the three ladies in their eighties and early nineties had a lot of fun painting in my place. One morning in the Alice Springs winter with temperatures of around minus 2 degrees Barbara called when it was still dark and I was sleeping at about 5 a.m. She said “Sorry to wake you up but they said they want to go to the old man”. They meant me. So I put the heater on and the kettle for tea and some 20 minutes later the ladies arrived.

Barbara looked after the commercial site of the arrangements and worked with lots of energy. I believe there is not one Aboriginal family who was looked after with more love and care than Barbara’s. She always said, I don’t care about you Gallery owners, I look after my family. A point not missed by many Aboriginal Art Dealers who tried to take advantage of in particular elderly artists.

The Future

Now, already 75 I find I am still too young to sit back. I look forward to the next 20 years running my Gallery in a team effort with my wife Elena. Between closing down in Adelaide and Alice Springs and establishing ourselves on the Gold Coast Elena and I missed our regular artists and our customers from around the world. We collected lots of paintings over almost 20 years with many never exhibited.  To sum up, we bought our Southport property, did some major renovation and today we enjoy more than ever when visitors and artists come and enjoy our display and company.

 

Aboriginal Art Association of Australia Indigenous Art Code