There are some brands that stop you in your tracks. It may be because of the beauty of their designs, or for the stories behind their pieces, or perhaps for the passion of the Founder. With Bay Gallery Home, it’s a tripple whammy.
Founded in 2008 by former journalist Alexandra O’Brien – who emigrated from the UK to Sydney when she was four, before returning 20 years later – Bay Gallery Home is the only dedicated Aboriginal gallery in the UK. The Tetbury-based gallery represents a wide range of artists from the communities of Australia’s Northern Territory, with works by emerging talent, as well as established creatives (such as Murdie Nampinjinpa Morris) with prices to match; from just over £100 to £4,000.
My litmus test for art is that I have an emotional and physical reaction to it.”
“The paintings are bold, beautiful abstracts based on the Aboriginal mythology and culture, featuring the landscape, plants and animals found in the Australian outback. My litmus test for art is that I have an emotional and physical reaction to it, and for me, these works generate that very strong emotional pull,” says Alexandra, who has seen grown men on their knees moved to tears in front of the paintings.
Alongside large-scale contemporary artworks, Alexandra stocks her award-winning My Country home collection, which includes wallpapers, tiles, rugs, tables and textiles, all emblazoned with wonderful bright and bold Aborigine designs.
Naturally, Alexandra is passionate about respecting, supporting and promoting the Aboriginal artists she works with. Artists are remunerated for the purchase of their works and receive a percentage of the sales of homeware featuring their designs. She is also strict about manufacturing her products with British designer-makers, using only sustainably-sourced wood and her rugs carry the no child labour ‘GoodWeave’ label.
“The Australian Aboriginal people are at a crossroads where their way of life is endangered, but they continue to show incredible resilience. In those communities which have the materials to paint and where the people create artworks, there’s a palpable sense of pride and purpose,” says Alexandra. “The art of Australian Aboriginals is still hugely underrepresented around the world. It is their time to bask in the sun!”
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