A Passion for Indigenous Culture

After experiencing and living in the Katherine region since 1963 and developing a love for the landscape, culture and Indigenous artwork surrounding us we opened our first gallery in 1996, originally The Katherine Art Gallery. Over this time we developed both personal and business relationships with artists locally and from all regions of the Northern Territory. 

Katherine has historically been a meeting place for many Indigenous language groups and continues today. The township is located at the heart of the ‘Big Rivers’ region, extending from the Western Australian border to the Gulf of Carpentaria and along the Queensland border. This large region is home to 23 Aboriginal communities and 110 Indigenous family outstations, Katherine being central and the main supply centre for these communities. 

We source most of our art directly from the artists, who often come to us with their artworks for sale. This has given us the opportunity for over 27 years to get to know artists from many different regions throughout the Territory and consequently being invited out to homelands.

As Top Didj Art Gallery holds a portfolio of artists from a very large region, the gallery reflects the cultural diversity and influences of Indigenous people who have lived in these areas for thousands of years. 

The gallery has a range of strong collections from the the local Katherine region (Jawoyn, Dalabon, Mali), Arnhem Land, the Kimberley’s, Central and Western Desert (Walpiri).

After working with artists for many years, in 2009 founders Alex and Petrena Ariston developed Top Didj Cultural Experience (now closed). Visitors to the gallery often wanted to meet and interact with Indigenous people to learn more about their rich culture. Sadly Alex passed away suddenly in November 2021 just before the opening of the new gallery but his work and legacy lives on.

Even though the Cultural Experience itself is no longer running Top Didj still hosts many artists in residence allowing guests to engage in their art and culture and hear first hand the meaning behind the artworks.