The community of Indulkana is located in the far north east of South Australia in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Indulkana is situated close to the Stuart Highway, approximately 400km south of Alice Springs.
The community was established in the nineteen sixties after the land was returned to the traditional owners. Many Anangu came to the community after years of employment on neighbouring cattle stations where they had worked as stockmen and station hands.
The first settlement in the community was along the banks of the Iwantja Creek and gradually, as the population expanded, houses and amenities were built closer to the ridge at the edge of the Indulkana Ranges.
Today Indulkana is home to approximately three hundred Anangu, with the two major language groups in the region being Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara.
Iwantja Arts takes its name from the Iwantja Creek where the community was first established. A large native gum growing in the creek bed marks the resting place and dreaming site of the Tjurki (owl) and tells the story of his journey through country.
Initially used as a community centre, the building provided temporary accommodation for small family groups, catering meals for students and elderly community members. The space was then transformed into a craft centre focusing on fabric dyeing, jewellery making, and tjanpi (spinifex grass) weaving.
In the early nineteen eighties, artists Alec Baker and Sadie Singer drove south through the red desert, first to Adelaide and then to Canberra. There they advocated for the development and funding for facilities to establish a contemporary arts centre, which would support a printmaking workshop and several painting studios.
Iwantja Arts has a rich history of printmaking, with many of the first limited edition prints now held in the collections of the South Australian Museum and National Gallery of Australia. Printmaking continues to be a fundamental art form, with studio artists producing work in both relief and intaglio mediums.
Today the art centre continues to support innovative studio artists working across a variety of mediums, encompassing both individual and collaborative contemporary arts practice. Artworks from Iwantja Arts are held in many private and public collections throughout Australia and internationally.
Iwantja Arts is a not for profit, Aboriginal owned and run corporation managed by a board of directors. Through strong governance, the art centre encourages and fosters artistic excellence and cultural development within the community by providing opportunities, training, and career development for artists.
Professional photography by Alex Craig and Rhett Hammerton
Additional photos by Vicki Cullinan, Dianne Robinson and Rosalind Tjanyari