University of Wollongong

03/18/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/18/2019 01:52

University celebrates 25 years of artistic partnership with Yirrkala artists

Arnhem Land artists host print-making workshop for students and staff

Three young Yolngu artists from Yirrkala, an Aboriginal township in Arnhem Land, hosted a print-making workshop for University of Wollongong students and staff on Friday 15 March to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a partnership between the artists of Yirrkala and the University.

The workshop was run by Yolngu artists Rebecca Yunupingu, Birrtha Maymuru and Ruby Alderton, who guided a small number of current students, alumni and UOW staff through the process of creating lino cut prints. The workshop paid homage to the significant collection of prints and textiles from Yolngu artists held by the UOW Art Collection.

One of those who attended the workshop was Honours student Stephanie Beaupark from the School of the Arts, English and Media (TAEM).

'The Yirrkala workshop was an extremely valuable opportunity for knowledge exchange,' Ms Beaupark said.

'As an Indigenous visual arts student, I am honoured to learn from these talented artists and be a part of the continuation of the long-term relationship between the Yirrkala people and UOW. It is very exciting to meet the artists and hear about the community where these beautiful artworks are from.'

Scenes from the Yirrkala artists' workshop. Pictures: Paul Jones, UOW

The workshop coincides with the UOW Art Collection exhibition, Ganma: both ways: Yirrkala artists in Wollongong 1994-2019, featuring works from the period between 1994 -1996, when Yirrkala artists and UOW collaborated together under the National Priority Development Fund.

The exhibition also includes many pieces that are the result of an ongoing artistic exchange involving reciprocal visits between Yirrkala and UOW by artists, teachers and students, and includes works by significant Yolngu artists. It was co-curated by Emeritus Professor Diana Wood Conroy, independent artist Catriona Stanton, and the staff of the UOW Art Collection.

'This exhibition records an extraordinary moment of interaction between two knowledge systems in the mid-1990s, when Banduk Marika AO, a leader of the Yolngu people, reached out to UOW Creative Arts to establish exchanges of artists and printmaking workshops between Wollongong and Yirrkala,' Professor Wood Conroy said.

Head of School Associate Professor Brogan Bunt said: 'Our relationship with the Yirrkala art movement began 25 years ago. The works produced from the artistic exchange held in the Art Collection support and enrich teaching and research programs on campus and provide a resource for the wider community, so it's wonderful to see this relationship continuing; this time driven by a new generation of Yirrkala artists.'

Ganma: both ways: Yirrkala artists in Wollongong 1994-2019 is on show until 12 April in both the Long Gallery and the TAEM Gallery (Building 25, main campus). Entry is free.

Works from the exhibition 'Ganma: both ways: Yirrkala artists in Wollongong 1994-2019'.

Main image: Catriona Stanton, Liz Jeneid, Penny Harris, Kim Williams, Stephanie Beaupark, Birrtha Maymuru, Ruby Alderton, Rebecca Yunupingu, Anthony Lee, Rhonda Murray, Jo Foster, Boni Cairncross, Diana Wood Conroy. Picture: Paul Jones