Dreaming the Land Aboriginal Art from Remote Australia

Marie Geissler

A vividly illustrated, accessibly written history of the Aboriginal art movement from remote Australia.

The artworks of Aboriginal Australian peoples are a profoundly important repository of knowledge and reflect a deep connection to Country. This visually rich survey explores the evolution of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement in remote areas of Australia across twenty-nine art centers in five states from the Kimberley through to Arnhem Land and beyond.

Featuring profiles of one hundred artists, this unparalleled work provides valuable insight into Knowledges and Traditions, while highlighting the achievements of each unique artist—all recognized as among the most distinguished painters from remote Australia. Author Marie Geissler’s opening essay traces the progression from rock art through to the launch of the Western desert movement, which began at Papunya in the early 1970s and led to the widespread uptake of contemporary painting by Aboriginal artists. Esteemed writers Margot Neale and Djon Mundine offer erudite contributions distilling the complexity of the art movement and its impact.

Dreaming the Land is an authoritative reference that offers readers around the world a valuable introduction to Aboriginal culture and the stories that underpin the paintings.


Marie Geissler


Marie Geissler is a cultural historian who has worked in the field of Indigenous art for over thirty years. She has a particular interest in Arnhem Land bark painting and the ways Indigenous Australian art has been critical in promoting the self-determination histories of Indigenous Australians. Marie is currently at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, where she is researching its bark painting collection. She has written academic articles relating to Indigenous Australian art, including the use of Aboriginal art in cultural diplomacy and has also published on urban Indigenous artist Helen S. Tiernan and the Renshaw Indigenous Collection at the New England Regional Arts Museum.