Back in 1988, Injalak Arts & Crafts was only a dream. At this time a small group of men had just begun screenprinting fabric and ladies sewed it into items like bags and singlets. However it wasn’t long before their vision began to show. The style reflected the ancient and dynamic art traditions of West Arnhem Land with characteristic features like rarrk (hatching) and “x-ray” elements. Later that year, funds were raised by Adult Educator, Wendy Kennedy, for a purpose-built art centre, and when it was completed and opened in late 1989 production flourished to encompass bark paintings, fibre work and other forms.
These first artists had a vision – to create a place where the art history of West Arnhem Land could continue and develop through the apprenticeship of younger generations and be shared with a wide audience. The young screenprinters were soon joined by senior community leaders who mentored them, and now 25 years later these young men and women have become the established artists and leaders who in turn train the new emerging cohort. Meanwhile their cultural heritage is being shared with and taught to the thousands of visitors who visit the art centre annually and also worldwide through new media.
Gabriel Maralngurra, Isaiah Nagurrgurrba and Michael Naborlhborlh were among the very first young artists in 1989, and after a quarter decade of artistic development have reached styles that are mature and yet ever dynamic. In their work can be seen both a continuous strand of ancient art history and an abundant capacity for formal innovation which marks them as contemporary masters of their craft. Like all great founders, it is their drive and belief in a dream at the heart of their operation which has sustained it and allowed it to thrive.
As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration we present to you our inaugural Online Exhibition: The Founders.
We are delighted that our friends and family around the world can share this special event with us, please enjoy.