Art Centres are an integral part of each community

The art centres visited on an Aboriginal Art Connections experience are all aboriginal owned and operated, ensuring that all proceeds from the sale of art works provide a direct benefit to the artists and the communities.

These centres are an integral part of each community, providing the means for local artists to have their work distributed to galleries and collectors world wide. Many are also an artistic hub in the community, with artists sharing ochres, tools and resources, or just coming together socially.

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Injalak Arts and Crafts

Injalak Arts and Crafts Association is located in Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) in Western Arnhem Land, about 300 km east of Darwin. The Association is a wholly aboriginal owned and operated enterprise and aims to promote and preserve the indigenous art and culture of Western Arnhem Land. Any income stays within the community and assists in its development.

Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) has a population of approximately 1,000 people. The language spoken is Kunwinjku with English as a second language. East of Gunbalanya and spreading as far as the Mann River in Arnhem Land are ten active outstations where several hundred people live a more traditional existence. The region from the East Alligator, which forms the border with Kakadu, to the Mann River serves as Injalak's 'artistic catchment' area. The art centre is situated in a most breathtaking location adjoining the Gunbalanya floodplains and billabong with the Arnhem Land escarpment or ‘stone country’ rising forebodingly to the east.

Injalak stocks a diverse range of quality art reflective of the creative ingenuity of the Kunwinjku (language group) people of the region including: natural ochre paintings on bark and paper, carvings, didjeridus, limited edition prints and fibre products such as baskets, mats, dilly bags and string bags. Screen-printed fabrics and T-shirts are also produced. The bark painters of Arnhem Land work from a limited palette, rarely using more than the 4 basic colours: red black, yellow and white, although sometimes the primary colours are mixed to give a pink, orange or grey. The western Arnhem Land style is typified by the art of Oenpelli, in which x-ray paintings, forceful images of spirit ancestors and delicate paintings of the Mimi spirits predominate. These are painted very finely on a plain monochrome background. The earliest paintings collected this century were from the area now known as Oenpelli, and it is these figurative images of hunting animals and stick-like figures which have come to symbolise, for many, the very essence of all Aboriginal Art.

The screen print workshop at Injalak Arts and Crafts produces a range of goods including screen printed t-shirts, tablecloths, tea towels, lengths of fabric, cushion covers and bags. The Kunwinjku women of Western Arnhem Land enjoy a hard earned reputation for the quality, diversity and originality of their weavings including baskets, mats and dilly bags. Images and copy courtesy of Injalak Arts and Crafts.


Featured Art Tour

This year we have designed a comprehensive tour of Arnhem Land, focusing not only on the art centres, but we have also included immersive environmental events. A spectacular time of year, after the wet season has abated, the drier air ensures comfort whilst the land is still lush and green.

The customised trip will give you the opportunity to walk around the community environs and engage with the local residents. In particular you will meet the artists, often the artist’s family and certainly the arts workers. On occasion we havebeen offered spontaneous invitations to visit the artist’s homes and camps, the chance to visit the local school, learn more about medicinal botany, Yolngu law, interpret rock art or do some night fishing. Overall the style and pace of the trip is to give those interested in Top End Indigenous Australian art and culture an opportunity to fulfil their curiosity in a real time way.

Make no mistake; this trip cannot be achieved without the expertise of the Aboriginal Art Connections team with many years of collective experience and enthusiasm for Northern Australia. Wewill provide a comfortable trip and an extraordinary experience.

The service you can expect from the team at Aboriginal Art Connections is exemplary. Please be aware that accessing these remote communities in Arnhem land is restricted, so we make all the applications on your behalf to clear entry, prepare your lodgings, ensure meals are hearty and fulfilling, down to the fragrant fresh coffee for morning and afternoon tea always in a scenic let’s just stop and take it in location.

As your accompanying indigenous art specialist I am on board to facilitate your growing knowledge of the art forms of the region, such the stylistic shifts from eastern to western Arnhem land, to introducing specific artists work to you, and being that calm third party when required to help you make decisions with confidence when on the ground.

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22.5.16  7 Day Tiwi Island and Arnhem Land Tour hosted by Vivien Anderson.  Read more

1.9.16  Cape York Art Centre Tour - This tour is still in development. We will take you to the best art centres Cape York has to offer. This tour will be led by Vivien Anderson.  Read more