Image courtesy Emma Kirby

Emma Kirby – intern

In the winter of 2014, I came to Ikuntji Artists for 10 weeks as an intern. I had recently graduated from The National Art School and was lucky enough to receive their Aboriginal Art Centre Internship award. I had studied Aboriginal art however, I was aware that reading stuff in books is one thing and touching the red dirt is another. Coming to Ikuntji I tried to prepare myself for the worst, but the reality was I was met with incredible warmth and patience from the community. The work at the arts centre was great – I got to spend time with the local artists, visiting artists and workers that come through, I stretched and primed canvases, mixed paints, made tea, helped do a stocktake, and even cleaned the artists’ toilet. Chrischona was careful to give me projects I could call my own, and that used my skills (including helped set up this website and a mailing list and EDMs), this meant I really felt I could contribute, and there was never a dull moment. I take away many happy memories, of beautiful landscapes, trips out country and warm evenings, the Ikuntji Artists Festival, a wedding and wonderful shared meals, conversations and connections.