Saturday, May 23, 2009

Off Topic but Important for Americans

This Monday, Americans pause to salute and say thank you to the brave men and women who fought and died to defend the freedom of their country.

In my opinion, nothing quite reflects the fact that these brave souls began dying early on in our history as a nation, and continue to do so today, better than these lyrics, written in 1812 by Francis Scott Key, during the battle at Fort Henry.

We forget them at our peril.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tribal Art - New artist at Tony Bond art

Here at Aboriginals Gallery, also known as TribalWorks, an online gallery offering Australian Aboriginal art and artifacts, we received the following letter from our good friend, Tony Bond of Adelaide, South Australia.

We have purchased from Tony and have been guests in his home. He and his family are top-drawer people.

I recommend a visit to his web site to see the work of his artists.

"Dear Art Collector,

We are now proudly representing Ian Abdulla at AP Bond Art Dealer.

He is a wonderful addition to our gallery and his works contrasts the works from the community based art centres we represent.

Ian has for the last decade been one of South Australia’s most acclaimed Aboriginal artists.

His first solo show with us “Yarns” will be opened by Brenda Croft on Thursday the 11th June at 6pm.

Ian is one of Australia’s best know “Outsider” artists his paintings depict scenes and narratives from his life growing up and living on the River Murray and has works in the collections of National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra,Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin.

Today we have added several of Ian’s works exclusively for sale on our website

The selection we have of small works of acrylic on board are available for customers on this email database for $785 each. Prices for the larger works on application.

Yours Sincerely

Tony Bond

AP Bond Art Dealer

Please note new gallery address:

135 Magill Road, Stepney, SA 5067 "

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tribal art - Nine baskets you've never seen before

Just about every culture with access to vegetation has had a basket-making history. Among them are the Aborigines of Central Australia.

With little or no resources for pottery-making, a nomadic lifestyle that required regular movement from campsite to campsite and extensive pandanus fiber resources, Australian Aborigines have a rich and vital basket-making tradition.

Even today, at least as recently as the 1990s, Aborigines were weaving baskets for everyday needs such as gathering foods, carrying possessions and even providing shelter for children, and for sale to basket and ethnographic art collectors.

Pandanus fiber, ochres,
dyed emu feathers

Beautiful, colorful, intricately woven baskets are produced by hand throughout Aboriginal Australia. Some the most striking are created in the Northern Territory area of Arnhem Land, served by art and cultural centers at Maningrida and Nhulumbuy.

The baskets are predominantly coiled, string or "dilly" bags. They are woven from various natural fibers such as those made from the leaves of the pandanus plant, the bark of trees like Kurrajong, Brachychiton diversifolius, Brachychiton paradoxum and Ficus virens.

These fibers are dyed in vivid oranges, yellows, reds, blacks and purples by boiling in ground up roots of plants like Pogonolobus reticulatus and wood ash from Eucalyptus alba.

Maningrida is a small community that sits on the remote northern coast of Australia's Arnhem Land at the estuary of the Liverpool River. During much of the year the community can be reached only by light aircraft. Nhulumbuy, also known as Gove, is an area where bauxite has been mined. It also situated on the northern coast and is reachable primarily by air, especially during the wet season.

We acquired several Australian Aboriginal baskets for our personal collection starting in 1990, in villages and towns of the Northern Territory. We have decided (reluctantly) to release these baskets for sale. You can learn more about them, which are shown in thumbnails below, and access a larger photograph of each, by clicking on each image.

W762 dilly bag

KC40 emu feather basket

CC20 dilly bag

W036 collecting bag

W764 collecting bag

W824 parrot feather bag

K128 canoe shape basket

W826 collecting basket and child cover

You may see these and other Australian Aboriginal baskets at our TribalWorks online gallery. We invite you to visit and share our passion for the ingenious weaving of these resourceful people.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Zuni fetish sale - but not ours - Tribal Artery

Okay. Call us stupid.

We are about to tell you about a sale of Zuni fetishes by another site that could be consider a "competitor".

Although, we prefer to think of everyone who sells what we sell as collaborators. The more you and others come to appreciate the beauty and importance of tribal art of any kind, the better it is all for all of us.

So, a visit to ZuniSpirits will reveal a current sale of Zuni fetish carvings at very reasonable prices (not necessarily more reasonable than our prices, but nevertheless reasonable prices- you can compare prices by visiting our ZuniLink site too.)

Another reason we like to support Zuni Spirits is because they are faithful supporters of the Zuni people and Zuni carvers. We have many carver friends in common.

From our standpoint, it is more importnat that you add a Zuni fetish carving to your life than who you choose to get it from.

Don't miss thisTribal Art auction - Nasser

We have learned about an upcoming auction which is interesting for its limited lots and their high value. Check out to preview this auction set for Tuesday, May 19. The venerable Will Channing is collaborating.

If you see what you like, bid for us too. LOL

Susanne and William Waites at http:/

i WaNt 1 oF tHosE: Microsoft's Future Home. It can Talk, it can help you Cook, it can even give you Fashion Advice

i WaNt 1 oF tHosE: Microsoft's Future Home. It can Talk, it can help you Cook, it can even give you Fashion Advice

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tribal Art - The Glory of Native Pottery

If you missed the 9th Annual Pueblo Pottery Exhibit and Sale in New York City the weekend of May 1-3, you are not out of luck for finding and acquiring outstanding examples of Native American pottery making.

The referenced exhibit took place at the Hotel Beacon and included comments by Dr. Bruce Bernstein, PhD, a noted expert on the subject of pueblo pottery. Dr. Bernstein also is the Executive Director of the
Southwest Association for Indian Art, headquartered in Santa Fe, NM. Also in attendance, according to advance publicity, were potters Nathan Youngblood, Virgil Ortiz, Susan Folwell and Verma Sequatewa.

According to Dr. Bernstein, "Pottery making offers artists a way to profitably fit an old pattern to contemporary needs and provides community members with a means to enter the American cash economy while staying at home, instead of traveling to urban centers for employment."

Stated in
another way, Aboriginals: Art of the First Person owner,
William Waites, describes pottery making by Native Americans, "as a way for non-native people to interact with one of the oldest Indian art forms, one which is still created in largely the same way it was generations ago."

Examples of this captivating art can be seen at the Native-PotteryLink website, which is open 24/7 and offers authentic Native American creations for sale, with a satisfaction guarantee.

(Left) Olla by Lela & Luther Guiterrez, Santa Clara

Tribal Art - Indian Market Looking for Volunteers

If you live in or near Santa Fe, or could be in the area in August, you might find volunteering at the 88th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market a "hoot."

The Southwest Association for Indian Art, the organization that stages this annual extravaganza of authentic Indian art, has put out a call for volunteers.

The Santa Fe Indian Market depends on dedicated volunteers to realize its success. Hundreds of volunteers from across the country make the annual journey to Santa Fe to be a part of Indian Market.

"From the Sneak Preview of Award Winning Art to the Native American Clothing Contest, volunteers provide instrumental support to SWAIA staff and Indian Market artists. One thing that may not be evident to the casual observer is the connection that volunteers develop with the Indian Market itself. Volunteers positively affect the livelihoods of Native artists by managing the myriad of details involved with producing Indian Market, so that artists are afforded the opportunity to concentrate fully on sharing their magnificent artwork.

Time is moving swiftly as we prepare for the 88th Annual Santa Fe Indian Market which will be held on August 22 - 23, 2009, with volunteer preparation activities on August 17 - 21, 2009. It is the ideal time to join the SWAIA volunteer program. Please consider joining us to celebrate Native arts during this historic Santa Fe event."

For a complete list of volunteer opportunities and to apply online please visit or call 505.983.5220 and ask for Cheryl James or Gomeo Bobelu.


Aboriginals: Art of the First Person is a member of SWAIA and a strong supporter of Indian Market and the artists who exhibit and sell there. We also encourage fans of Native American art to volunteer. You will find the experience stimulating. The work of the artists also appears on the web pages at,, and Whether shopping or just browsing, you are invited to visit these web sites and visually sample these beautiful works of art.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Tribal Art - Saving antiquity, one eBay sale at a time.

Archaeologists, museums and preservers of ancient cultural heritage have long fretted over people who entered centers of pre-historic activity and looted items to sell to collectors and dealers, with no concern for the way the item was discovered and acquired. They have been concerned that important links to our past were being destroyed or removed from the cultural context required to understand them.

With eBay and web marketing blossoming, these guardians of our history became fearful that looters would be encouraged to steal and damage more. eBay would make it easier to sell their booty more easily.

In a recent article in Archaeology Magazine, Charles Stanish has offered up a different vision of eBay's influence on the market for stolen artifacts. Stanish, who is director of the Archaeological Institute of America, reports that eBay has had an opposite effect.

By popularizing the collection of artifacts and facilitating the sale of "fakes", eBay has encouraged a trade in manufactured fakes at prices so low that there is little or no profit in the hard work of stealing and taking the real thing to market.

In the wake of this, individual craftspeople have begun to make reproductions that are so good they even fool the "experts". They also create objects that are not identical copies but reflect the design elements and use authentic materials in ways that make them collectibles in their own right. They can be acquired at prices that provide competition to real, authentic items looted from graves sites and archaeological digs.

As with so many things in life, the side effects often are more significant than the intended purpose.

The referenced article is oriented to antiquities and artifacts from Andean cultures. But the observations are equally applied to other fields of study and collection of material culture. For example, there is a continuing, occasionally incendiary, discussion on certain websites about African Tribal Art. What is authentic, what is antique and what is new and made for market?
And how can you tell?

One indicator, in my opinion, is the price. If you see an item offered in the semi-anonymous realm of eBay at a ridiculously low price, chances are almost absolute that it is a fake or, to be more polite in some cases, a reproduction.

Even works that have been authenticated by curators and other people paid for their expertise can be less than they are presented as. Increasingly, these "experts" are being trained with fakes that are presented to them as authentic.

At one time, certain testing regimens would reveal if something is genuine or not. That too is becoming less reliable as crafts-people have learned how to use materials identical those used in the making of the item 1,000 years ago.

Moving to the area of Native American Indian art, eBay has taken steps to prevent some items from being misrepresented as Native American in origin. They required sellers to specify the tribal relationship and name of the artist for any piece represented as being made after 1934. Do you see the problem here? The prohibition does not apply to items claimed to have been created prior to 1934.

There are other protections. For items that are pre-historic or historic, Federal regulations require proof of legitimate acquisition. Items taken from public lands are contraband and may not be sold unless acquired prior to the enactment of laws protecting property that rightfully belongs to the public. For more recent items presented as Native American-made, the Indian Arts & Crafts Act applies. This is the law eBay cites to justify their requirements for posting contemporary Native American art.

There are other helpful resources.

o The Indian Arts & Crafts Association requires members to accurately represent items they sell. Members agree, upon penalty of expulsion, not to identify anything as Native American-made unless it is, in fact, made by Native Americans.

o Another resource is the Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association. This group has a stringent code of responsibility for correct identification of items offered for sale by members.

o There also are some discussion groups on Yahoo that are frequented by people with a lot of experience in artifact identification. One of them,, regularly highlights items, especially bead work, offered on eBay that members believe to be misrepresented.

Finally, one of your best protections is to work with dealer that you trust (membership in organization such as IACA and ATADA can be guides). Even then, there may be problems. Stanish tells of a dealer he went to in La Paz, Bolivia. He told the owner that many of her pieces were fake. Her reaction was one of anger. He then went through the displayed pieces and pronounced them "fake" or "real". Hooked by the author's apparent expertise, the owner decided to prove him wrong by grabbing one he had identified as "real" and telling him it was "fake" too.

The article, available on line, is an informative and entertaining read.


Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, with web sites at,, and, deals in authentic, guaranteed tribal art. We support the protection of items of native patrimony.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tribal Art - Sotheby's May 20 catalog on line

Eighteen days from now, May 20, 2009 Sotheby's New york will hold an auction of American Indian Art including property from the Frieda and Milton Rosenthal Collection.

The catalog is online for web browsers at Sotheby's.

There are more than 200 lots ranging in estimates from US$5,000 to US$80,000

Among the higher end pieces are Chilkat blankets, Haida rattles, Navajo weavings and historic pottery from the Southwestern Pueblos. Baskets also are well represented.

In addition to browsing through the catalog on line, you can order a copy of the catalog for purchase. We find these printed catalogs, which usually are followed by a 'prices realized sheet' if requested, can be valuable resources for determining values of similar items you may be considering buying or selling.

Oh, yes. You also can bid on line. Be sure to read the terms and conditions. An auction house premium is added to the winning bid.

Whether you bid or not, however, an auction like this can be very educational. At Aboriginals: Art of the First Person and our websites at,, and, we value informed buyers. We add our best thinking and experience to the educational mix. The more you know about an object of tribal art, the more you will enjoy owning it.