11 Inspiring First Nations Artists to Follow on Instagram
Bed Threads. acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land where we work, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We pay respect to Elders - past, present and emerging - and recognise their connections to land, sea and community, with knowledge and stories that have been handed down since time immemorial. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture today.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been creating art for millennia. The rich culture of painting and storytelling has been passed down for generations, and now Aboriginal art is cherished in homes and galleries – and on Instagram feeds – around the world.
From those who create traditional intricate dot paintings to more contemporary pieces, these 11 talented and inspiring First Nations artists deserve a follow on Instagram.
11 of the Best Aboriginal Artists to Follow on Instagram
1. Rachael Sarra
Rachael Sarra and her art is anything but boring. The contemporary artist from Goreng Goreng Country uses art as a powerful tool to educate and share Aboriginal culture and its evolution. The end result is feminine, fun and engaging artworks with a modern twist.
While she’s had quite the career success already, one of her biggest achievements would have to be collaborating with Australia Post to design the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum collectable stamp.
If you’re like us and can’t get enough of Rachael, you can check out her Bedtime Stories on the Journal here.
Follow Rachael on Instagram @sar.ra_.
2. Mia Boe
Murri artist Mia Boe’s work has appeared in her home city’s Institute of Modern Art and the Museum of Brisbane, where she completed a residency. Exploring (among other things) the experiences and struggles unique to First Nations people, Mia says her work aims to “record and recover Indigenous histories which Australia seeks to deny.”
Follow her on Instagram @miaboe.art.
3. Lauren Freestone
Based in Newcastle, Lauren Freestone always considered art as a hobby and a way to connect with her dad - celebrated artist Lee Freestone. She was selling her paintings to friends and family but became more serious about it when a Sydney gallery asked to house some of her works.
"I have always been a creative person," she previously told Bed Threads Journal. "I grew up watching my dad paint and exhibit his work. My grandfather made and sold Yidaki and boomerangs at the markets so I guess it has always been a part of me."
Head here for a tour inside the artist’s show-stopping home and studio.
Follow Lauren on Instagram at @freestone_art.
4. Daisy Hill
Gold Coast-based artist Daisy Hill’s style is intricate dot painting - the traditional art form of her Muruwari mob. She also uses a combination of Aboriginal language symbols along with her own interpretation, to tell stories and keep the traditions of her people alive.
“It is a way for me to feel connected to the Motherland - the trees, the water, the sand, the sun, the earth and the animals,” she writes on her site. “It's a way for me to convey the beauty I see in all things. A way for me to express my gratitude and to acknowledge the Country I am walking, living and breathing.”
Her detailed designs can take up to 40 hours to complete.
Follow Daisy on Instagram @daisy_in_dots.
5. Lani and Zara
Inspired by motherhood and influenced by their diverse Australian and Papua New Guinean heritage, this mother and daughter duo create art that is able to inject colour and life into any home. The two always dreamt of working together and in 2019 decided to take the risk by focusing on their business Aurora Art - and it was the best leap of faith they took. Now, their work is even stocked on The Block Shop and they have their very own gallery in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne where you’re able to view their vibrant, eclectic and feminine in person.
Follow them on Instagram @aurora.art.co.
6. Holly Sanders
Contemporary Aboriginal artist and teacher Holly Sanders, is a proud Bundjalung woman from the North Coast of New South Wales, who shares her stories and culture via her art in a contemporary way. She looks towards the land, sky and sea at different times of the day and year for inspiration.
Her passion to create evolved from a young age and she was heavily influenced by her mother who was also an artist.
As a calming artwork in the bedroom to a statement piece in the living room, you’ll be able to find the perfect artwork for you from Holly’s collection.
Follow Holly on Instagram @hollysanders_art.
7. Brad Turner
Proud Bundjalung man and contemporary Indigenous artist Brad Turner managed to turn his passion for art into a full-time job and flourishing business during 2020. The artist’s creativity stemmed from a young age when he would watch his grandfather paint, but it wasn’t until recently when his daughter showed interest in their culture and heritage did he revisit his hobby.
In the short time between quitting his job as a bus driver to bravely embarking on his own business venture, Brad’s work has been featured on the finale of popular TV show The Block and he’s even nailed a double spread feature in Inside Out magazine. His art focuses on earthy tones like yellow ochre, raw sienna and soft yellow-pink to ultimately create pieces that evoke a sense of calm - perfect for the bedroom, if you ask us.
Follow Brad on Instagram @bradturnercreative_.
8. Glenda, Jaunita, Dale and Cheryl McCulloch
Cungelella Art was originally founded in 2019 by Genda McCulloch and soon expanded as a collaboration to include her sisters - Jaunita, Dale and Cheryl. Together, they saw a better opportunity to create a legacy through their artwork and share their culture, all while being able to spend more quality family time together.
The sisters grew up influenced by artists and creatives - their grandparents, uncles and aunties would teach them about carvings and paintings, and traditional art of the region. They’ve taken this traditional knowledge to put a creative modern spin on contemporary Aboriginal art that is inspired by the rugged and rust-coloured lands of Kalkatungu Country. If you want their art on more than just a canvas, you can also find it printed on yoga mats, jewellery and clothing, amongst other items.
Follow them on Instagram @cungelella_art.
9. Natalie Jade
This self-taught intuitive artist transitioned from abstract to Contemporary Aboriginal art as a way to connect with her culture, soul frequency and ancestors. She uses her art as a form of healing and paints intuitively “after connecting in and being in a flow state through meditation and music.”
Natalie’s art is mostly of the landscape and almost always depicts rainbows, which is a direct reflection of her own dreaming. She has collaborated with a long list of businesses and has even been featured in several publications including The Design Files and Real Living.
Follow Natalie on Instagram @natalie_jade_collective.
10. Emma Hollingsworth
Proud Kaanju, Kuku Ya'u and Girrimay woman Emma Hollingsworth, juggles multiple roles as an artist, businesswoman and model. She spends her days creating brightly coloured, intricate paintings that tell stories inspired by her heritage for her self-run art store Mulganai.
From a young age, Emma knew she wanted to be an artist (her mother would even catch her drawing on the walls) and as she travelled around Australia with her family visiting many Aboriginal communities, she soaked in her surroundings to inspire the art she creates today. Follow her for a daily dose of inspiration and positivity - plus, you can even find her on TikTok.
Follow Emma on Instagram @mulganai.
11. Miimi and Jiinda
Miimi and Jiinda is an Australian Art business founded by Indigenous Australian mother-daughter duo, Lauren Jarett and Melissa Greenwood. Together, they create beautifully unique artworks that share their interpretations of Country and reflect their own personal stories as Indigenous women.
With each piece they create, Lauren and Melissa hope to spark conversations, and uplift and inspire. Their strong 107k (and counting) Instagram following proves they’re doing their part in shedding light on important issues and helping individuals better understand their culture and heritage.
Follow them on Instagram @miimiandjiinda.
Love art? Here are 8 emerging Australian artists whose work you can still pick up for less than $1000.