Organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

How Are They Made?

Every part of a bark painting comes from the land. First, the bark of the Eucalyptus tetradonta tree is cut with an axe and stripped from the trunk. It is flattened by heating it over the low coals of a fire or with a blow torch. The bark is weighted on the corners and dried into a more rigid form. Then, the interior side is sanded to produce a smooth surface. 

Natural pigments, also called ochres, are gathered and ground into a powder. The black, red and yellow pigments are hard like a rock and the white pigment is a chalky clay. Water and an adhesive binder are added to the pigment to create paint. Brushes, often made from a native grass or human hair, are dipped in the pigment and skillfully pulled across the surface to create the intricate patterns characteristic of miny’tji.