A university art collection was established in the Northern Territory with the creation of the Northern Territory University on 1 January 1989 (renamed Charles Darwin University in 2003, following a merger with Centralian College in Alice Springs and the Northern Territory Rural College).
In 1989, the University inherited and amalgamated two collections formed by its precursor institutions: the Darwin Institute of Technology (1984-89, formerly the Darwin Community College, 1974-84) and the University College of the Northern Territory (1987-89). These two collections encompassed:
- A 'teaching collection' of about 100 items, chiefly works on paper by contemporary Australian non-Indigenous and several Indigenous artists, assembled by an Art Acquisitions Committee and the School of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1989; and
- A discrete collection of more than 20 Indigenous art and material culture items acquired in 1988 by a former Warden of the University College of the NT, Professor Jim Thomson. This collection consisted of bark paintings, sculptures, woven items, decorative weapons and ceremonial regalia, emanating from Arnhem Land, the Tiwi Islands, Central Australia and north Queensland.
From the 1990s onwards, acquisitions continued to be made to the University Art Collection by a new Art Collection Committee, focusing principally on works on paper by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian contemporary artists, including University art students, staff, artists-in-residence and Northern Territory-based artists.
Since 1993, with the establishment of the NT University Print Workshop (NTUPW) within the Art School, renamed Northern Editions Printmaking Workshop in 1997, the University Art Collection has also been the beneficiary of workshop proofs (WPs) of limited edition prints produced by artists who have worked with the University’s printmaking staff. Between 1993 and 2002, by arrangement between the Art School’s printmaking workshop and artists who had prints editioned there, WPs of prints were donated to the University Art Collection. Since 2002, the redesignated Northern Editions Printmaking Studio has continued this tradition, maintained after the re-integration of Northern Editions within the School of Creative Arts and Humanities.
In 2013, gifted WPs of prints in the Art Collection account for approximately 50% of its holdings, rendering it one of the largest Australian Indigenous print collections in the world, representing work by more than 200 Indigenous artists.
The print component of the Collection also includes art by non-Indigenous Australian and Southeast Asian artists who have visited the University's printmaking studio, or were artists-in-residence of the School of Creative Arts and Humanities or Northern Editions.
The Charles Darwin University Art Collection is a recognised institutional art collection pursuant to Guidelines established by the Council of Australian University Museums and Collections (CAUMAC). CAUMAC is a Special Interest Group (SIG) of Museums Australia Inc, which represents more than 200 University museums and collections Australia-wide. The CDU Art Collection is also a partner organisation of the Collections Australia Network (CAN), Australian cultural heritage collections online.
Copyright: images of art work on this site are reproduced for the purposes of research and study only. Whilst every effort has been made to trace Copyright holders, we would be grateful for any information concerning Copyright of the images and will withdraw them immediately upon the Copyright holder’s request.