Image courtesy of Ikuntji Artists

Julia North – volunteer

My name is Julia, I have an academic background in Anthropology and Sociology through the University of Sydney. In 2014 I have been lucky enough to visit Ikuntji twice as a volunteer. I was quite unsure what to expect from my time in the community; how I would go in such a different cultural context to that which I have grown up with; and how I would ensure I was contributing as much as possible to the Art Centre. I have been overwhelmed with the amount of time and patience Chrischona and members of the Haasts Bluff community dedicated to guiding me through my stays; to exposing me to a myriad of roles and experiences within the Art Centre; and to making me feel a valued and welcomed member of the community. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the ongoing and vibrant cultural practice that continues to underpin everyday life both within the Art centre and the wider community. Artists kindly permitted me to observe them in the process of art making and took time to take me aside and explain, with pride, the Dreaming significance that underlies each of work. The landscape is indescribably beautiful. The variety of texture, colour and form that surround you in this remote community provide endless inspiration for anyone like myself with a creative bent. In this context strong bonds to people and country are quickly formed, and my experiences in the Art Centre have left an indelible mark on my identity. If you are open to learning and experiencing a LOT, and willing to knuckle down and work hard at very rewarding work, I cannot recommend this experience highly enough.