Getting digital in Yirrkala

— by Jo Foster

The team - Guti, Birrtha, Bawu, Rebecca and Mundatjnggu, photo taken by Jo Foster

Thanks to funding through Visions of Australia, Artback NT’s Visual Arts Manager, Jo Foster, was able to travel to Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre in Yirrkala recently to work with artists and printmakers there to develop a digital app to accompany the touring exhibition Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression. The exhibition celebrates 20 years of printmaking through the Yirrkala Print Studio based at Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre. The Print Space is an energetic and dynamic space that has seen Yolngu artists embrace a variety of printing techniques and mediums to produce a diverse array of stunning prints on paper. Over the years, important works have been realised through key projects inspired by significant cultural and historical stories, fruitful cross-cultural collaborations and focused youth programs.

Young artsworkers and printmakers, Bitharr Marika, Bawu Gurruwiwi and Munuy’ngu Marika (also known as Rebecca), were involved in developing content for the app including information about the 48 artists and 101 artworks featured in the show, as well as focusing on taking visitors on a personalised exhibition journey. The girls worked together to write a script to introduce visitors to Miwatj country, the Art Centre and the Print Studio, incorporating an explanation of the Yolngu-specific concepts of Yirritja and Dhuwa, and an interactive Yolngu language component.

Media workers employed by The Mulka Project, the Art Centre’s media and community archiving unit, filmed their friends and colleagues with Gutingarra Yunupingu on camera and Mundatjnggu Mununggurr on sound. Bulmirri Yunupingu providing some additional voice over commentary. The printmakers and media workers made a formidable team and it was a joyous process that saw the young workers embrace wholeheartedly.

I love working at the Print Space. I print lino editions for other artists as well as doing my own prints, and I help train other girls so we can work together printing and learning different techniques. Linocut is my favourite. I have done screenprinting and sometimes I do etchings but really I like linocuts the best.
Munuy’ngu (Rebecca) Marika

The exhibition is currently on tour, and the app will be available from the App Store and Google Play from September 2017. It’s bound to leave a lasting impression!