Indigenous artists stage sell-out show in Sydney to raise funds for leaking Iwantja Arts
Some of Australia’s best Indigenous artists have donated $100,000 of their own money to ensure their remote art centre can exist for future generations.
- Iwantja Arts is in the APY Lands and the $100k will be used to maintain the centre
- Fundraiser will ensure Indulkana children have opportunities to paint, artists say
- South Australian Government agrees to fund the rest of the upgrades
Iwantja Arts, based in the tiny town of Indulkuna in the APY Lands in South Australia’s far north, have fostered award-winning artists for decades.
But the building in the tiny community, almost 400 kilometres south of Alice Springs, has become run down.
Although the not-for-profit arts centre takes a cut of all sales to keep itself running, it is old and past its time, with maintenance hard to maintain in such a remote location.
“We need to fix the roof of the old building because when it’s raining there’s water coming out everywhere,” said Alec Baker, one of the men who secured the first funding for Iwantja Arts.
The building is also too cold in winter and does not have enough space to keep people separated when required for cultural reasons, accoridng to Iwantja Arts chairperson Vicki Cullinan.
“We also need a new kitchen to make a proper kitchen for us and make more rooms for ladies and men’s side for paintings,” she said.
Now a number of artists have put on a sell-out show in Sydney’s trendy suburb of Darlinghurst and donated the money that would have gone into their own pockets to fix the art centre.
Art show fundraiser ‘for the young one to learn how to paint’
Kaylene Whiskey won the 2018 Sulman Prize, which is run alongside the Archibald Prize, and donated work for the exhibition.
She said she wanted to ensure that children in Indulkana and the APY Lands could have opportunities to create art.
“Kids learn to paint and when they grow up they want to be really good at painting,” she said.
Artist Kaylene Whiskey wants to ensure children in Indulkana have opportunities to create art (Facebook: Iwantja Art)
Ms Cullinan agreed that ensuring the cultural practices surrounding Indigenous art continued and was a strong incentive for artists to donate their own money sold from work.
“We really need the art centre fixed, not for us, but for the future as well,” she said.
“For the young ones to come and learn about art how to paint, to learn about Tjukurpa [the creation period], to pass it onto our children when they’re growing up.”
Iwanjta Arts coordinators estimated it would cost about $500,000 to upgrade the art centre.
After the exhibition, the South Australian Government agreed to fund the rest of the upgrades.
The exhibition in Darlinghurst was possible after 10 art centres in the APY Lands banded together to open their own gallery in Sydney, in an effort to circumvent dodgy art dealers who rip off artists.
Indulkana artists donated work for the exhibition, with the funds used to repair the art centre (Supplied: Iwantja Arts)