A Day in the Life

Each weekday morning, the Tartakula artists trickle into our bright studio-gallery at Barkly Arts HQ on Waramungu Country (Tennant Creek). As they arrive, favourite seats are adopted around a large paint-spattered table, on which brushes, paint and canvases are laid out. Amidst chatter in language and the collaboration of ideas with our arts workers, brushstrokes begin to appear. Time is a fluid concept, and each artist works to their own rhythm.

Remote Art Centres

Along with the Tartakula artists, Barkly Arts represents artists in Canteen Creek, Epenarra, Mungkarta and Elliott. Tennant Creek-based outreach arts workers regularly fill our Troop Carrier with paints, canvases and a few roast chooks before navigating the corrugated roads to reach these studios. Barkly Arts employs local Indigenous arts worker in each studio, we have a total of five remote staff on the visual arts team.

When visiting community, the role of the Tennant Creek team is to work with each artist to support their practice, providing encouragement, feedback and assisting with problem solving. Additionally, the Tennant Creek team provides materials for new works, collect any finished works and note the artist’s verbal story of the work before taking the work back to Tennant Creek for cataloguing and sale, whether through our Studio Gallery, online shop or partner galleries.

Supporting Artists

Helping the artist build on their talent and expand their practice ensures that they will produce art that both delight the artist and potential buyers. Barkly Regional Arts runs regular workshops which allow artists to explore multiple creative disciplines, we employ experts in painting, pottery, textile art and beading among other crafts. This allows artists to expand their horizons and develop their practice across multiple disciplines. Regular trips to Country, exhibitions and events provide further inspiration and allow artists to continue developing their practice by engaging with culture and the broader landscape of contemporary art. Protecting artists from exploitation is something we are committed to as a signatories to the Indigenous Art Code. Read more here.

Exhibitions and Fairs

Throughout the year there is a busy calendar of exhibitions and fairs held in the Northern Territory and around Australia. Frequently we will take a group of artists with us, travelling with artists to Alice Springs, Darwin, and other major cities for events such as Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Desert Mob and Partjimma. Meanwhile our visual arts team work proactively on behalf of our artists to bring their work to galleries in cities around Australia.

Celebrating Country

Subjects are mostly derived from the artist’s individual journey. Themes explored amongst the Artists of the Barkly include man’s intervention on Country and the daily rituals of the Barkly’s famed cattle stations. Rhythmic motif and vivid colours are used to depict the region’s shrubby landscape bush tucker, bush food and bush medicine. Read more about our artists here and please don’t hesitate to send us any questions you may have.