27 October
Donna Robinson, working with the artist, Denise Brady at Tjarlili Art/Kaltukatjara Art at Docker River NT. Photo by Jack Howard

Arts Law on outreach in the Western Desert

From 26 September to 7 October 2022, Donna Robinson (Director, Artists in the Black Legal) and Jack Howard (Artists in the Black Paralegal) travelled to art centres in the Western and Great Victorian Deserts. Supported by and in partnership with Desart, Donna and Jack were accompanied by Lara Dykun, Strong Business Program Officer at Desart. Across the six art centres visited, 55 advices were delivered to artists and art centre managers, including wills for 31 artists.

Circling west from Uluru, we travelled to Docker River to visit Tjarlirli Art/Kaltukatjara Art for two days, preparing wills for artists. Only a few kilometres from the Northern Territory border, Docker River is surrounded by mountains that glow a rich orange and purple in the morning and evening light. We had great conversations with the artists and were transfixed by the paintings in the studio.

From there, we continued on to Warakurna Artists where we delivered a workshop on wills and copyright for the artists and art centre staff, prepared wills and gave advices. We were kindly allowed to use the art centre’s office which Manager Jacob Gerrard-Brown and Studio Manager Lara Smith kindly vacated for us. We spent all of our first day and the next morning speaking to artists, preparing wills and providing advice.

For the weekend, we were waylaid in mining camp accommodation due to inclement weather and road closures. We paid a visit to the Surveyor-General’s corner, the point where Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia meet – and where, as we learned, there is a misalignment in the border by 127.4 metres. Unfortunately, this meant we were forced to cancel planned trips to Ninuku Arts and the Minyma Kutjara Art Project, both of which we hope to visit soon on a future trip.

Once the roads re-opened, we made up for lost time with a visit to Papulankutja Artists in Blackstone Community to prepare more wills and speak with art centre staff. Returning to Uluru via the Gunbarrel Highway, we stopped in for a brief visit at Tjala Arts before visits to Maruku Arts and Walkatjara Art to round out the trip. At both art centres we met with the managers and prepared wills for several artists. We hope to return to each of these art centres soon on future trips with Desart.

We would like to thank each and every art centre for hosting us, and for all the artists we met along the way who we had the pleasure of meeting. Our thanks to Desart, who supported Arts Law on this trip and to Lara for her skillful driving and excellent playlists.