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Art & About – Paul Johnstone Gallery

Nestled in Harriet Place, Paul Johnstone Gallery was established in 2007 under the name Cross Cultural Art Exchange. Changing to its current name in 2013, the gallery showcases artists from throughout the Territory and across Australia. Off The Leash had a chat with Paul Johnstone about 10 years at his Darwin gallery.

What is the vision and core values of Paul Johnstone Gallery?

As with any business we need to sell our product and our product is artwork, however we do this by carefully working with artists who are talented and dedicated. Our vision is to provide our artists with a solid foundation in which to build their career and by doing this we encourage their practice and provide outstanding works of art to our clients. Our core values reflect this through ethics, morals and honesty, all practiced through transparency.

How many artists and regions have had their work showcased?

Lots – both Indigenous artists from community art centres and non-Indigenous artists from the Northern Territory and across Australia. Artists and Art Centres include Bryan Bulley, Marnie Jay and Linda Joy; Papunya Tula Artists, Kaltjiti Artists and Martumili Artists.

How do you decide your yearly program?

We are usually booked 18-24 months in advance and look for a balance between Indigenous and non-Indigenous exhibitions. Represented artists usually have a two-year turnaround whilst still allowing for new artists to exhibit. Within this we consider our other yearly exhibitions such as the Salon Des Refuses as well.

What are some gallery highlights?

There have been so many highlights over the years. As far as exhibitions go, before the global financial crisis, we saw some outrageous scenes at the annual Papunya Tula Artists (PTA) exhibition openings. These were held in August as our premier show and the demand for the work was so intense that we had to limit one painting per customer. Cues were along the street before the doors would open and people would be selling 'self imposed' tickets to ensure that the order of the line was maintained. Once inside the gallery elbows would fly. Thankfully the annual PTA openings are a little more sedate these days!

What sets Paul Johnstone Gallery apart?

The artwork of course! We are very proud and honoured to represent the artists at Paul Johnstone Galley. We are a grounded and very approachable gallery and are also valuers, approved to value for the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. 

What’s coming up at Paul Johnstone Gallery?

Those familiar to scenes of the Top End Dry season – fire, smoke, stone and spear grass – must come to Linda Joy’s exhibition Stone Country from Friday 30 June. They will be seduced by Linda’s meticulous artworks!


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