In May 1995 a small revolution happened in far eastern Arnhem Land. The Yolngu artists of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka rose up and ‘seized the means of production’. Remote Indigenous printmakers began working on their own press to create limited edition fine art works on paper. Thus they began the Yirrkala Print Space.
And now, twenty years later, the wheel of that etching press has turned full circle. Yirrkala Print Space is one of the country’s most highly respected independent print studios. Yolngu printmakers have editioned over 800 etchings, screenprints, woodblocks, linocuts and collagraphs created by 134 Yolngu artists. The space has never been idle over that twenty years and has at all times been staffed by Yolngu printmakers who have passed on their knowledge to new generations.
This exhibition of 20 new etchings honours the imagery and heritage of the artists. The works reflect the traditions and culture of their people yet is brimming with innovation and originality. Over 20 years the artists of Yirrkala Print Space have revolutionised the way art is made and the way knowledge is shared with the public. Their philosophy is highly democratic and the prints highly accessible, transforming art into new realms and creating a revolution in every sense.View the Online Gallery
Manme Mayh: Gardens of the Stone Country III explores the links between Indigenous cultural heritage, environment and aesthetic traditions of artists from the Stone Country of western Arnhem Land through food and plants (manme) and animals (mayh).
The artists in this exhibition represent a small and unique group of painters who are actively maintaining the distinctive practise associated with the traditions of rock art painting in western Arnhem Land and the knowledge it purveys. The artists are Allan Nadjamerrek, Lorraine Kabbindi White, Gavin Namarnyilk, Freddie Nadjawulu Nadjamerrek, Graham Badari and Don Namundja.
The Stone Country of western Arnhem Land also known as the plateau country adjoins Kakadu National Park. The rocky outcrops of the escarpment dominate the landscape while adjacent flood plains, permanent rivers and billabongs are abundant with life of countless species of animals and plants.
Manme Mayh: Gardens of the Stone Country III focuses on the native plants and animals integral to the culture and traditions of the Kunwinjku speaking people and the spirit figures associated with them. The exhibition highlights cultural associations the Kunwinjku people have with species that include the emu, fruit bats, the kangaroo, black wallaroo, Oenpelli python, water lilies, crocodiles, turtles, fishes, yams, and other plants that provide both food and tools.
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In this exhibition John Wolseley explores complex life forces and leads the viewer into the umwelt or life world of plants and insects. The Secret Lives of Plants and Insects includes watercolours, etchings, wood blocks and nature prints that have been created over 20 years and thousands of kilometres.
The exhibition features two series of monoprints on mulberry and gampi paper in which Wolseley has taken prints of desert plants and the tracks of beetle larvae as they bore through the wood under the bark of trees. Wolseley uses an ancient Italian technique to print the complex tracks and journeys directly from the subjects, so revealing a whole life story. The works are influenced by Baltic German biologist Jakob von Uexkull’s theory that all life forms experience their umwelten or environments differently.
In the first series of monoprints we are led into the umwelt of the larvae of Longicorn beetles. The second series shows plants found in the desert dunes near Coward Springs in the southern reaches of the Simpson Desert. One of these, a Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) has seeds, which were an important food source for the Arrernte people. At first the plants are a bright green and then turn red, throw out clouds of tiny black seeds and finally wither into blackness.
The beetle and plant prints in this exhibition join with other images to take us on a journey through central and northern Australia and across to the Indonesian archipelago, as they celebrate the beauty and diversity of the secret world of plants and insects.
Plants and animals experience their own subjective worlds with different perceptual frameworks than ours. A swallow living on the wing and on the wind has its own particular ‘life world’. As has the beetle, which I found just hatched on a desert poplar among sand hills. By printing directly from the life histories which the beetle larvae have engraved under the bark, (with their own autobiographies as it were), I have tried to get nearer to the being of these mysterious creatures. Or I hope at least to limit the extent to which I impose my own structures on the insect in an anthropomorphic way. I once put my ear to the trunk of a tree and heard the sound of a witchetty grub gnawing its passage under the bark. So with these prints I am still learning from beetles. Or as Matsuo Basho put it – ‘Learn about pines from the pine, and about bamboo from the bamboo.’
John Wolseley 2015
The artist acknowledges the brilliant and skilled assistance of Kaitlyn Gibson and Cassandra Gill in the printing of the beetle biographies.
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In this exhibition Merran Sierakowski continues to explore the notion of venomous sea creatures as a metaphor for the increasing ugliness displayed by our nation in the treatment of marginalised members of society. Not waving, but drowning in self-interest and the poison of intolerance. The creatures represent old prejudices and fears, much as images of monsters were depicted on medieval maps of imagined lands.
‘We Australians strangely maintain our belief in our manufactured national character of acceptance and a ‘fair go for all’ through increasingly nationalistic displays of flag waving and national pride. However this attitude is only an outward display. We are allowing ourselves to become mean spirited and intolerant. We are not waving and welcoming. We are not helping each other. We are drowning in self interest’.
Merran Sierakowski 2015
Woven Lines is the second solo exhibition by this exciting young Northern Territory artist. At the age of 21 Kieren Karritpul is a highly talented emerging painter and designer from Merrepen Arts at Nauiyu Community on the Daly River. In Woven Lines Karritpul continues to explore the minutiae of his line and pattern- making […]
Nomad Art and Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency are proud to present a new body of prints created in partnership with Basil Hall Editions in 2014. These new etchings and screen prints represent traditional connections Mangkaja artists have to the Kimberley region. Typically diverse in style, the etchings are reminiscent of the seminal drypoint prints […]
Earthworks is a continuation of Winsome Jobling’s 2014 exhibition titled Earth. It is a reflection upon the natural changes and movement of the Earth in tandem with human exploitation of natural resources. In Earthworks Jobling moves deeper into the geological transformation of the earth and how this influences our sense of identity, shaping our interactions with […]
Nomad Art presents an exquisite collection of new etchings, linocuts and works on paper from Jilamara Arts and Crafts. Inspired by the rich cultural heritage and the island environment, the artworks represent the stories and customs of the Tiwi people. The prints were produced in collaboration with Martin King from the Australian Print Workshop […]
Nomad Art features the recent arrival of etchings by some of the key artists from the renowned Jirrawun Arts. Based in Wyndham, Western Australia from 1998 to 2010 Jirrawun Arts was a galvanising period in the history of East Kimberley art, helping to establish the careers of many of Australia’s leading contemporary Aboriginal artists. […]
Recent prints from Yirrkala Print Workshop feature etchings, lithographs, linocuts and screenprints by leading Yolngu artists which are a reflection of their culture, ingenuity, skill and artistic vision. Buku Larrnggay Mulka has a long and proud history as one of Australia’s premier Indigenous art centres and printmaking studios. The artists have established a national reputation […]
Down at Vesteys Beach, embedded in the sand and silt, is a collection of sedimentary rocks known as conglomerates. These conglomerates are the result of massive earth forming events across millenia. Consequently they have been deformed, metamorphosed and intruded by post-tectonic granitic and mafic rocks. Fragments of shells bear witness to habitation from a Precambrian […]
Galico is the word for fabric in the Gupapuyngu language, one of the many languages and dialects used throughout Arnhem Land. Galico is derived from the word ‘calico’, which was bought to Arnhem Land by the Macassans from Indonesia – who visited and traded with the Yolngu for hundreds of years before white contact. […]
Inspired by the mangroves and tropical ecologies of Darwin, Talitha Kennedy has taken the aesthetic of fecundity to heart. Talitha’s drawings are elaborate ink on paper doodles, working between conscious thought and raw instinct to evoke intimate landscapes suggestive of plant, body and earth as transforming mass. Her artistic practice examines the human relationship […]