To coincide with our official opening, Laundry Gallery is proud to show Werrkno: In This Skin, an exploration of cultural narratives and the details of ancestral beings.

Opening 10am Saturday 6th August

Featuring 23 original works on paper by four senior artists from Maningrida Arts & Culture, Kalidjan Janet Marawarr, Ngarridjdjan Raylene Bonson, Kamanj Carol Liyawanga Campion and Bulanjdjan Lucy Yarawanga.

During the early burn of Yekke (cold) season, Kalidjan Janet Marawarr, Ngarridjdjan Raylene Bonson, Kamanj Carol Liyawanga Campion and Bulanjdjan Lucy Yarawanga, camped out on top of the Djinkarr escarpment for a week of artistic exploration. Facilitated by Ingrid Johanson, there was no expectation, no outcome or no theme for the trip. Instead it was a chance to have uninterrupted time on country, exploring different mediums and developing new artistic skills. 

Overlooking the picturesque flood plain of Gurrgoni Country and camping under the dry season stars, art making was fueled by sounds and smells of the surrounding savanna woodlands, with country providing an endless source of earth pigment to grind, young leaves and broken twigs to use as painting tools, and charcoal from the fire to create a rich black paint. Artists explored new techniques painting using natural pigments from the earth ground on paper, as well as monochromatic mark making using charcoal and Indian ink.  

As the workshop evolved, the artist's focus shifted to looking closer at cultural narratives and details of ancestral beings - in particular, their bodies and skin. Over the days, the women gravitated towards depicting Werrkno, the Kuninjku work for skin/scales/bark/husks, with each woman depicting Werrkno from her own cultural perspective and lens.

For Maningrida Arts & Culture artists working on paper is still a new and unexplored medium. Dating back 20 years artists have previously done workshops developing skills in printmaking.

Most recently during the global pandemic, Maningrida Arts & Culture and artists ways of working were adversely affected and have explored paper as a new medium/outlet for their creativity. The medium particularly resonated with women who have worked in textile design at Babbarra Women’s Centre and have begun using bright texta on paper, echoing the bold, contemporary colourways of their fabric.

The Djinkarr workshop marks the first formalised artist development workshop for these artists working with fine art paper. The workshop was generously funded by Northern Land Council – Indigenous Economic Stimulus Grant.