About Us

Our Story

Cape York Art is an Aboriginal owned and operated company that showcases art and design products from Cape York Peninsula. It was established to connect audiences with talented Cape York artists and profile their artistic styles. This website is intended to be a resource for astute art collectors wanting to learn more about the dynamic artworks being produced in the region. While many collectors know about Western Desert and Arnhem art, they are only just discovering what makes the art from Cape York so collectable.

Our beautiful logo is based on a Staaten River dilly bag found in the 1900s which forms part of the Walter Roth Collection at the Australian National Museum in Sydney. The orange ochre and blood red colours used in the logo are faithful to the original artefact and are also signature colours of the Kokoberrin clan group. Dilly bags have been used throughout millennia by Aboriginal people to carry items of significance.

Today the Cape York Art brand signifies the bringing together of exclusive products from artists across Cape York for audiences to share and enjoy.The business was developed by Kokoberrin artist, Lisa Michl Ko-manggén in 2001 after completing a visual arts degree. Lisa has gone on to develop a distinctive style of art based on traditional stories from Western Cape York and achieved national acclaim for her exquisite paintings and prints.

Many people will know of Lisa’s work through inclusion in the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair and prominent exhibitions in Australia and overseas. In expanding her business Lisa has sought to profile other leading artists from Cape York Peninsula in order to promote their individual talents and strong connection to country.

“Cape York Art has been established as a pathway for Aboriginal artists to further develop their arts practice. It’s a way for us to work together to promote the Cape York Art Movement and share opportunities.”

The Kowanyama Keeping Place is an identified priority area for our clan groups from the Kowanyama area. Over the years our ancestors have created many artefacts and fibre works. Our families have been successful in the return of many artefacts from private and public collections from within Australia and throughout the world.

We connect audiences with the cultural traditions, stories and lore of our Cape York communities and provide experiences for shared learning and understanding between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

Fearless Leadership

We develop exhibitions that educate people about our Cape York cultural practices and show why this region is producing some of the most exciting and bold art anywhere in the world today.

Over the past few years, we have worked to establish our brand at major art fairs and successfully introduced numerous emerging artists to the market to the delight of the public, collectors, and art institutions. We have raised the profile of established artists and secured exhibition opportunities for them nationally and internationally. The works of Cape York artists are now held in major art collections in Australia, Europe, and the United States.

westwestWe continue to support west Cape York artists and communities through:

Skills development workshops in arts and small business to empower artists.

Product development and design licensing to increase incomes.

Intellectual property management including Copyright and trademarks to protect culture.

Career development of individual artists to raise their profile in the Arts market.

Marketing and promotions to raise awareness of the Cape York Art movement.
Secure exhibitions and attend art fairs to facilitate sales and connect Cape York artists with collectors and curators.

Collaborations to strengthen cultural traditions in regions.

Advocacy on behalf of west Cape York artists and arts communities to ensure equity and access.

The workshops we facilitate assist our artists to access art materials and new techniques. They provide opportunities for communities to share traditional skills and learn new ways of making that enable them to create artworks with a deep connection to our heritage but with a voice that speaks for today. These workshops are a powerful way for our artists to stay connected to their cultural traditions. The workshops also enable younger people to connect and learn about arts and culture, ensuring that valuable knowledge and skills are passed on to the next generation.

Support Our Work

Your support of Cape York Art through a purchase will allow our artists to build on their achievements and continue the momentum from previous years. We are keen to work with artists and a limited selection of their best designs to a new level by partnering with several Australian based companies, we will work with artists to develop their designs in a culturally appropriate way to produce a new innovative giftware range. We are also interested in helping our artists develop their knowledge of copyright and licensing. We also offer small business advice and assistance to our artists whom wish to learn more about managing their own sustainable businesses. Cape York Art is an exciting new business model and through it, artists are invited to work together to develop a shared vision which is to promote the Cape York Art Movement, further our creative development and participate in opportunities and maintain sustainable incomes from our creative enterprises.

Let’s Start Something new
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