Skip to main content

Your free what's on guide to the NT

Injalak Arts

A strong pulse beats in the small Aboriginal community of Gunbalanya in West Arnhem Land. Since 1989, Injalak Arts has been a thriving hub for art, craft and community, growing over the years to support over 200 practising artists, weavers and craftspeople.

By Tierney Seccull

Injalak means ‘shelter’ in Kunwinjku, the language of the artists, and the Art Centre has provided a safe place for culture, creativity and knowledge to bloom for the people of Gunbalanya and surrounding homelands.

After closing their doors to the public during the pandemic years, they have recently been flung open – something Studio Coordinator Nina Haigh says the artists very much look forward to.

“The artists are feeling excited about welcoming visitors back through the doors again, to have visitors witnessing the deep connection between their artwork, and the breathtaking surroundings again," she says.

“The Art Centre and its artists were greatly impacted by the closure of tourist access due to COVID-19. Without visitors coming to Gunbalanya, the Art centre lost the invaluable opportunity to engage directly with visitors, which allowed the artists to share their ancestral Djang and traditional creative processes directly."

Art Centres play an integral role in maintaining and strengthening cultural practices in remote communities, and operate as meeting places to provide opportunities for training and education.

They also play an important economic role, with art sales contributing directly to the artists and the community, and can often be the sole source of income for an artist and their family.

Injalak Arts' talented artists create sculptures, weavings and natural canvases, and often feature in art fairs and galleries across the country. Their hand-printed textiles are highly sought after, the Art Centre recently becoming proud owners of two 14-metre printing tables as part of NT Government's Art Trail investment in an effort to increase their capacity to produce beautiful fabrics.

Gabriel Maralngurra is a senior artist and founding member of Injalak Arts, and says the Art Centre allows the opportunity to share culture through art.

“Our art helps us share our stories, our songlines. It is important for us to share our history and culture with our visitors, and we get to do this when they can come here to Injalak Arts and see it in person for themselves.”

Make the trip to West Arnhem Land to step into the beating heart of Gunbalanya, and take shelter in Injalak.


Thumbnail & header: Artist Connie Nayinggul with one of her stunning woven fibre works
Inset: Artist Larry Bangarr working on his artwork depicting a billabong scene

More reads

Advertisement: Darwin Fringe 2024