Aboriginal Art Like You’ve Never Seen It

Aboriginal Art Like You’ve Never Seen It


Win this Unique Painting by Melaine Hava  - valued at $390 (30.4cm x 30.4cm)

Melanie took us behind the scenes of this painting to create a special memory for our lucky winner to look back on:


To enter simply order any item from the Melanie Hava Collection between now and midnight on the 29th of February.  Every single order will count as a single entry with no minimum order size.  The winner will be drawn at random at 9 am on the 1st of March and notified by the email address used for ordering.


When you think of Aboriginal art, chances are that you are swept away to the red centre, swirling lines of ochre and red dots emanating out from the centre in a stylised depiction of the dreaming.

However, Aboriginal art is a many splendored thing. Among the countless Indigenous artists creating art today, there are countless styles, colour palettes and aesthetics. One thing remains constant, however: a close connection to country as they have experienced it in their own unique ways.

In this vein, we are thrilled to partner with Melanie Hava, a proud Mamu woman from the sub-tropical rainforests, wetlands and coral reefs or Far North Queensland. Her art is the direct result of having grown up with one of the natural wonders of the world on her doorstep. She depicts marine wildlife drifting through sunlit waters and thriving societies of corals with unrivalled intimacy and familiarity. It is the work of a woman who knows her subject as though it were an extension of herself.

Her newest collection of works is entitled ‘Under the Sea; and there is something intrinsically calming about warm blues, soft lines and vibrant depictions of an underwater wonderland that typify this new range. “These paintings are influenced by the landscape of my home,” she says “It is the traditional land of the Rainforest Aboriginal people, right next to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. I want people to look at my work and feel joy.”

Finding joy in Melanie’s work isn’t hard. To look upon it is to be momentarily taken north, beyond the Tropic of Capricorn to where the mango trees are full and the beaches are empty. At Koh Living, we are massive fans of her work, and we are thrilled to announce a range of new products featuring Melanie’s work.

Firstly, we have a breathtaking collection of candle holders in a design called ‘Depths of Dolphins’ which will add a tropical splash of colour to your home. A pair of bottlenose dolphins frolic in the cyan ocean, set against the backdrop of corals and anemones. It invites you to slow down for a moment, to find that lightness of being that can usually only be found when floating in a calm ocean. When the candle is lit, it glows like the ocean under a setting sun, and when left unlit, it adds a sense of calm serenity to the room. Either way, the ‘Depths of Dolphins’ makes for a wonderful gift for the aesthetically minded friend or family member. Or, it could just be from you, to you. We won’t tell.

We are also pleased to introduce a wonderful set of travel mugs, featuring both ‘Depths of Dolphins’ and ‘Journey of the Turtle’. To drink tea or coffee (or wine!) is to pause from the haste of the day, and this is only enhanced when you’re drinking from something which looks this tranquil. These stainless steel mugs keep your drinks cool for 24 hours, or hot for over 12, so no matter what tangent and distractions present themselves, you can always come back later and pick up where you were. This gift is as practical as it is aesthetic, perfect for that person who is always on the go.

While Melanie’s work fits into the tradition of Indigenous art, there are other elements woven in that give her work a unique touch. When visiting her Oma in Austria as a young girl, she was instantly taken by the works of Gustav Klimt. “I fell in love with his use of patterns and gold,” she says. “His work has been a huge inspiration ever since.”

This split identity between Austrian and Aboriginal was at one point a source of tension for Melanie as she struggled to find an artistic style. In the end, she decided upon a fusion of the two that makes her work unlike any other working artist today. “I wanted to move past focusing on my upbringing to creating what I felt inspired to paint without there necessarily having to have a story for it; to paint what comes from my heart,” she explains.

Ultimately, the art that comes from Melanie’s work has a social purpose. The Great Barrier Reef is at risk of irreversible damage, and for it to be saved, people need to care about the natural beauty of this World Heritage Area. “These places and their stories are irreplaceable and priceless,” she says. “Not just to our people, but to Australia and to the world at large. It is my passion to share this through my paintings.”

Browse our range of products featuring Melanie’s ‘Under the Sea’ designs, as well as many other products featuring her ‘Kinship’ series and other works. In sharing her art with your friends and family, you will be reminding them of the fragile beauty of the reef that lies just off our north-east coastline.

And that small reminder might make a big difference for its future.