I was given the opportunity to volunteer at Ikuntji Artists in Haasts Bluff NT through the University of Western Australia after having done a semester’s work on Contemporary Aboriginal Art in my Art History degree. This experience was incredibly worthwhile and exposed me to the inspirational people and the landscape embedded in so many works.
My boyfriend, Cameron Franklyn and I went to stay with Chrischona Schmidt in Haasts Bluff for three weeks and even though we had an enriching experience, we both wished we had been able to stay for much longer. Originally expecting intense heat, and uncomfortable accommodation, we were pleasantly surprised with the mild temperature and the fully equipped room we were given. The community was also incredibly welcoming, we were even invited to a wedding after having been there for a week.
The work we did throughout the internship was mainly artwork based as I completed an archiving project organizing artworks from the 1990s onwards into the new online system.
This was useful, exposing me to the databases used by art centres, as well as the plethora of artworks completed over the decades. My understanding of these works was aided by many trips out of the community driving through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Roma Gorge, Winbarrku and Glen Helen Gorge, as well as many walks and hikes. Experiencing this landscape brought me so much closer to the artworks produced by the artists and deepened my understanding of them.