28 June
Artist with Arts Law, Donna Robinson. Photo by Belinda Cook, with permission

AITB Outreach in Arnhem Land

In June Arts Law went on an outreach trip to Arnhem Land and as part of our Artists in the Black program and as part of our partnership with Indigenous Fashion Projects which is part of the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation.  We are working with IFP developing best practice resources for artists and designers wishing to work in the Indigenous fashion sector. The IFP Best Practice Resources website will be launched in time for the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in August. 

IFP is also collaborating with the fashion accessories brand, Helen Kaminsky, in exchanging ideas to design, make, promote and distribute woven products such as hats, bags and other accessories. 

We drove from Darwin in 2 cars across Arnhem Land, to as far east as Gapuwiyak, and back, over a week. Accompanying Arts Law was Aiden Hawkes, solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons.

At Marrawuddi Arts & Culture in Jabiru we participated in a weaving workshop which was a lot of fun and a tribute to the generosity and patience of the artists. Marrawuddi Arts represents 500 artists from different communities and outstations in the area.

The next day we went with the artists to collect the pandanus palm fronds needed for the weaving that is practiced at the art centre where there is also a thriving practice in bark paintings and sculptural and cultural works.

Arts Law paid a short visit to Injalak Arts in Gunbalunya and met with the art centre manager, staff and a couple of artists.  Injalak has a great range of fabrics, prints, paintings, carvings and woven products. 

We spent some days at Bula’Bula Arts in Ramingining which was a rich cultural and social experience. We also drafted many wills while we were there. The art centre and gallery is a lovely serene space with lots of spaces for the artists to work. Some of our group were lucky enough to go buffalo hunting, and looking for red claw yabbies. While there they caught a file snake and made a fire and cooked it up.

We also visited Gapuwiyak which has a strong weaving, carving and painting practice amongst its artists, mostly Yolgnu people.  They are looking forward to a new art centre and studio being built overlooking the lake (no crocs) in the next year or two.

The whole experience was extraordinary and the country very beautiful with a lot of driving and crossing of beautiful creeks.  We were able to contribute at each art centre with providing legal advice and wills and it was a pleasure to watch the connections between the artists and our travel companions in working together in weaving and exchanging ideas.

Arts Law’s work with Indigenous Fashion Projects has been supported by generous funding from the Thyne Reid Foundation.