Artists still call the territory home 

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Garnett with Tim Hill, Tiwi Design

A jaunty little water colour of a broken-down caravan gave curator Anita Angel the inspiration for her exhibition Our Home.

The caravan is featured in a suite of tiny paintings by Darwin artist Chayni Henry, suggesting something distinctively wacky and laid-back about the notion of home to Territorians.

With the concept of home as a loose theme, Ms Angel decided her latest exhibition would feature recent acquisitions to Charles Darwin University’s collection.

“Most of the paintings were either bought for the collection, or were donated – sometimes by the artists themselves,” says Ms Angel, who took over as curator nearly three years ago.

The origins of the collection date back to 1980 when the Darwin Community College began collecting paintings by local artists.

Since she became curator in 2003 Ms Angel has steadily added to the collection. “It’s amazing what you can do when you rattle the tin and stretch a miniscule budget,” she explains.

She says the theme really suggested itself when she began thinking about displaying the acquisitions. “Some of the artists are resident in the Territory, and some are not,” she says. “But they all have some kind of connection to the Territory and the idea of home is a powerful emotional force.”

“Home can be an absolute wreck of a caravan with a flat tyre or it can be a spiritual connection to the land. And in the Northern Territory home can also be seen as the frontier, the place where you test the boundaries. In Darwin there is a sense of mobility about the notion of home, which is why I like the little caravan.”

A total of 73 works by 51 artists are on display at Charles Darwin University’s Gallery in a variety of media – from paintings to prints, etchings, sculptures and Indigenous craft works such as baskets and fish traps.

Works by Indigenous artists are strongly represented, including the communities of Wadeye, Tiwi Islands, Ramingining and Kintore.

Many of the prints were created at printmaking workshop sessions run by Charles Darwin University and Batchelor College.

Our Home was opened on Thursday night (October 19) by Vice-Chancellor Helen Garnett, and is on show until November 3. The Gallery is in Building 12 on the Casuarina Campus. Open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by appointment - phone 8946 6621.