People To People Through Art
In June/July 2015 NCCA ran its second Artists’ Camp in the Top End for Indonesian artists. 5 Balinese artists and a Bali-based Javanese artist spent time in a number of Top End and Central Desert locations. They visited iconic sites such as Uluru, and were welcomed by Tiwi people on Melville Island. They made work – en plein air, in makeshift studios, on the road – and met and collaborated with other artists along the way.
The Camp was not without a few stops and starts, from visas to volcanoes. In some cases a delay meant more studio and touring time. There was a lot of travel overall – by car, plane and boat – yet the artists produced a large and diverse body of work that clearly connects with the places and people they encountered. A small selection of this work (including opposite image) formed the exhibition desert trail at NCCA (Sept/Oct 2015) focusing on two Camp firsts: its visit to the Centre, and the inclusion of female artists, Ni Nyoman Sani and Suryani. A major exhibition of Artists’ Camp 2015-related work will show at NCCA 23 January to 13 February 2016.
6 artists – Made Budhiana, Wayan Wirawan, Made Sudibia, Made Suarimbawa (Dalbo), Ni Nyoman Sani and Suryani – were led on the camp by Melbourne/NT-based artist Rupert Betheras. Other artists who joined in at various stages include Emma Stewart (Alice Springs), Lionel Possum (Alice Springs), Xiaogang (Xavier) Yu (Alice Springs/Tiwi), Tom E. Lewis (Wugularr/Katherine), and Tiwi artists from Munupi Arts & Crafts, Pirlangimpi. Indonesian journalist Henny Handayani (Bali Arts) also joined the Camp for the first two weeks.
The Artists’ Camp 2015 follows on from NCCA’s 2012 Artist Camp which saw 4 Balinese artists spend time in two Top End National Parks and Darwin, culminating with The Artists’ Camp exhibition at NCCA (Aug/Sept 2012). The Camp recognises a seminal Top End precedent with the artist-in-the-field camps initiated by the late Colin Jack-Hinton (first Director of the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT) in the late 1970s.
The Artists’ Camp 2015 is sponsored by the NT Government, Commonwealth Bank Indonesia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Australia Indonesia Institute). NCCA also acknowledges the support and involvement of Mike Stitfold, Munupi Arts & Crafts, Djilpin Arts (Wugularr/Beswick), Injalak Arts (Gunbalanya/Oenpelli), Colin McDonald, and the Made Budhiana Gallery, Ubud, Bali.