Pottery from Hermannsburg

Hermannsburg pottery is now a famous feature of this community of 800 Western Arrernte people, located 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs. Pottery was first introduced to the Aboriginal artists of Hermannsburg in the 1960s by missionaries working with men from the community. These men, and subsequently both men and women artists, built on the tradition of Aranda (also called Arrernte) art that can be traced back to Albert Namatjira.


Today, with continued help from their pottery trainer (a practising ceramicist and teacher) and the traditional owners of the region, a small group of mostly women produces unique and highly saleable works of ceramic art.

These women (and the newer artists that have followed) use the introduced medium of clay to translate their cultural and artistic heritage. In a small pottery studio in the centre of the community the Hermannsburg Potters have forged their own unique type of ceramics.

Their distinctive style features small figures of birds, animals, lizards or plants which are sculpted onto the lid as well as painted onto the body of the pot. The potters do not limit themselves to the use of traditional images alone, and often incorporate fish, dragons, sharks and animals such as goats and zebras into their work.

Frequently now the potters are engaged in the production of large relief clay tiles for murals. Their depictions of bush food and Dreaming stories can be seen on murals at the interpretive displays and in the visitors areas in national parks and tourist destinations around Alice Springs. Their murals can also be seen at Taronga Zoo in Sydney and the Beverley Hills Library in California, USA. More recently the artists have been producing paintings on canvas.

Carol Rontji - Iyah (emu)
Carol Rontji
Iyah (emu)
Lindy Rontji - Galahs
Lindy Panangka Rontji
Alakuki (Galahs)
Lindy Rontji - Ramiya
Lindy Panangka Rontji
Ramiya (Lizard)
Irene Entata - Turkia
Irene Mbitjana Entata
Turkia (Field Mouse)
Irene Entata - Rock Pigeons
Irene Mbitjana Entata
Nturute (Rock Pigeons)
Rona Rubuntja - Wildflowers
Rona Rubuntja
Nteta (Wild Flowers)