How to Frame Indigenous Aboriginal Artworks

Dawsons Framing Services: Framing Indigenous Aboriginal Artworks in Studio.

Let’s take a look at how to frame Indigenous Aboriginal Artworks. Many customers are unaware of the significance behind process and mediums used in the creation of Aboriginal Art and as such, these artworks require special care when undergoing the framing process.

Indigenous Aboriginal Artwork Framing.

At Dawson’s Framing, we frame Indigenous Aboriginal artworks almost daily for the artists themselves as well as collectors and Aboriginal Art appreciators. Handling these artworks with the utmost care and respect is of great importance to us, and the artists. We stretch the canvases by hand, consulting with the artist and/or client to ensure that any needs are met.

It is important to ask the following questions/ make the following notes:

  1. What is the preferred hanging orientation? Often times, Indigenous artworks are painted as an “aerial view”, in which case the artist may have a preference for top and bottom orientation.
  2. Is excess canvas allowed to be trimmed off the artwork at the reverse of the painting
  3. Does the artist want the black/neutral background hidden or shown?
  4. The type of medium used in the painting may dictate whether or not the work requires a protective glass or acrylic covering. This will also affect where the artwork is placed in the home.
  5. Offer alternative framing in natural Australian timbers.

A definition from Wikipedia:

“Aboriginal art is art made by indigenous Australian people. It includes work made in many different ways including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpting, ceremonial clothing and sand painting. Aboriginal art is closely linked to religious ceremonies or rituals. It is an important part of the world’s oldest continuous cultural tradition, based on totems and the Dreaming. Australian Indigenous art is the oldest ongoing tradition of art in the world. The earliest artworks were rock carvings, body painting and ground designs, which date back more than 30,000 years. Symbols are used in aboriginal art, to show different things. While the meaning of these symbols is often shared, they can change meaning within the same piece, and they can be different between different groups. Aboriginal art is a language in itself, communicating through beautiful patterns. This started around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.”

Large Triptych Artwork Painting by Artist: Goompi. Indigenous Aboriginal Artwork Framed
Large Triptych Artwork Painting by Artist: Goompi. Indigenous Aboriginal Artwork Framed




Indigenous Aboriginal Artworks Framed in Natural Timber and placed behind protective glass.
Hand stained teak frames, a perfect match for these two Joseph Au prints.⁠ Title: ⁠Ay Garyatharayk 4/15⁠⁠ Joseph Au is one of the founders of the #BaduArtCentre, Since the creation of the Centre Joseph continues to participate as a senior artist creating, exploring and developing his own artistic practice whilst assisting, guiding and mentoring #emergingartists.”⁠ ⁠ “We will continue to preserve [our culture] whether it be in artworks or story telling or dancing. If you have an opportunity to visit Badu Island, do so, and we will make you feel comfortable and share with you our culture and everyday lifestyle…we’ll make you feel welcome and you’ll see for yourself we are striving to keep our culture strong.”⁠
We frame Indigenous Aboriginal Artworks as rolled canvas paintings (any size from pocket book size to full wall sizes). Rolled canvas artworks are stretched by hand onto a “canvas stretcher bar” frame, following with the canvas is framed up, traditionally into a timber floating frame. We also frame flat canvases in box frames, or prints in frames chosen by the customer.

Custom Canvas and black floating framing for this captivating 220cm by 150cm Aboriginal Artist @goompi_ugerabah
Custom Canvas and black floating framing for this captivating 220cm by 150cm Aboriginal Artist @goompi_ugerabah

How to frame Indigenous Aboriginal Art. More tips to consider when framing:

Framing Aboriginal art requires careful consideration to preserve and showcase the artwork appropriately. Here are some general steps to frame Aboriginal art:

  1. Select a suitable frame: Choose a frame that complements the artwork while respecting the cultural significance of Aboriginal art. Consider the style, size, and color of the frame, ensuring it enhances the overall presentation.
  2. Use archival materials: When we frame Indigenous Aboriginal art, it’s crucial to use archival-quality materials to protect the artwork from potential damage over time. Acid-free mats, backboards, and mounting materials help prevent yellowing, discoloration, or deterioration.
  3. Matting: Matting creates a visual border around the artwork, providing a clean separation between the artwork and the frame. Choose a mat color that enhances the artwork and doesn’t overshadow it. Consider consulting with an expert or a framer experienced in Aboriginal art to ensure cultural sensitivity in mat selection.
  4. Mounting: Determine the appropriate method of mounting the artwork based on its medium and fragility. Some options include using archival corners, hinging tapes, or other conservation-grade mounting techniques that allow the artwork to be easily removed without causing damage.
  5. Glazing: Consider using glazing, such as acrylic or museum-grade glass, to protect the artwork from dust, UV rays, and other potential hazards. Ensure the glazing material has UV protection to minimize fading and discoloration.
  6. Frame assembly: Assemble the frame carefully, ensuring all components fit securely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance if needed.
  7. Conservation framing: If the Aboriginal artwork is particularly fragile, valuable, or of cultural significance, you may consider conservation framing. Conservation framing techniques employ reversible methods to protect the artwork while preserving its original state.
  8. Hanging and display: Once the framing process is complete, choose an appropriate location for displaying the framed indigenous aboriginal artwork. Ensure the hanging hardware is secure and capable of supporting the weight of the frame. Avoid hanging the artwork in direct sunlight or areas with excessive humidity or temperature fluctuations.

It’s worth noting that Aboriginal art encompasses a wide range of styles, techniques, and cultural traditions. It’s essential to approach framing Aboriginal art with respect and consult with experts, art professionals, or individuals from the Aboriginal community for guidance on specific cultural considerations and sensitivities.

More information about Aboriginal Art from Wikipedia:

“Modern Aboriginal art still uses traditional symbols. While the meaning of the symbols can be the same across Australia, they can also change within in a single painting. A symbol such as a circle can be used as a circle within a circle, sometimes on its own or clustered in groups. The meaning can depend on which tribe the artist is from. The circles could be campfires, trees, hills, digging holes, water holes or a spring. The meaning can be changed by the use of colour, so water could be blue or black.

Many paintings by Aboriginal artists, tell a story from the Dreamtime. These can be drawn like a map. The story shows how the land was created by ancestral beings in their journey or during creation. These paintings continue a tradition of songs, ceremonies, rock art and body art that is thousands of years old.

Whatever the meaning, interpretations of the symbols should be made in context of the entire painting, the region from which the artist originates, the story behind the painting, and the style of the painting, with additional clues being the colours used in some of the more modern works, such as blue circles signifying water.”


Detail of an Indigenous Aboriginal flat canvas serpent Artwork archivally mounted and framed in a box frame
Detail of an Indigenous Aboriginal flat canvas serpent Artwork archivally mounted and framed in a box frame

Give us a call or pop us an email to discuss your Indigenous Aboriginal Artwork Framing Needs.

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