Some of the Utopia homeland’s most famous artist held a historic meeting in Alice Springs on 24 and 25 November 2016 to discuss and plan the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Utopia Batiks.
The 1988 Batiks along with Albert Namatjira’s watercolours and Papunya Tula boards are considered a national treasure, since they sparked the Utopia women’s art movement. Over the last six months with the support of Office of Aboriginal Affairs and the Community Champions program key batik artists from the Utopia Homelands and in Alice Springs had been meeting with the curator in preparation that led up to the workshop in Alice Springs on 24 and 25 November 2016.
“The 1988 Batiks are currently in the Janet Holmes a Court Collection. Mrs Holmes a Court has agreed in principle to lend the 88 Batiks for a 30th anniversary commemorative exhibition and we have also received in principle support from Araluen Cultural Centre for exhibition launch in 2019” said Koulla Roussos, an independent curator based in Darwin.
“The meeting was a great opportunity for the artists to meet, discuss all facets of exhibition planning, meet key government and arts industry representatives, give direction to the curator and steer the development and presentation of the exhibition.” said Ms Roussos.
“It is an event boosting cultural production, attracting recognition and respect as well as the large existing and new audiences to an internationally recognised art movement emanating from this region. The exhibition boosts cultural engagement in Central Australia and has the potential with touring, ticket, art sales and merchandising to boost economic benefits for the artists and for the Northern Territory,” Ms Roussos explained.
“The Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation welcomed this important exhibition” said Michael Liddle, Director, Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation. “It gave our people the opportunity to see again the beautiful batiks” said Michael Liddle, Director, Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation.
“Through these beautiful artworks, the batik artists have expressed true ownership and governance of country. The exhibition displayed the deep memory that exists in the life of the Alyawarr and Anmatyerre people,” Mr Liddle continued.
“Urapuntja Aboriginal Corporation is keen to support this project, and acknowledges the rich contribution our women artists have made to the continuous focus on the well-being of our people.” said Mr Liddle. “Our spirit remains alive and well, and through this exhibition we wanted to show respect to the role our culture plays in keeping our country and our spirit strong.”