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:

  1. 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
  2. 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 an 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. From 2002, the redesignated Northern Editions Printmaking Studio continued this tradition, maintained after the re-integration of Northern Editions within the School of Creative Arts and Humanities until it closed in 2014.

Gifted WPs of prints in the Art Collection account for approximately 40% of its holdings, rendering it one of the largest Australian Indigenous print collections in the world, representing work by more than 200 Indigenous artists.

Prior to the opening of CDU Art Gallery in 2009, the CDU Art Collection held annual exhibitions in The Nan Giese Gallery, Building Orange 10. Nan Giese Gallery is managed by the School of Creative Arts and Humanities. The staging of the Art Collection's exhibitions in this venue acknowledged its historical and contemporary associations with the Art School. In 1996, the CDU Art Collection's first major touring exhibition, entitled Printabout, was organised by ArtbackNETS NT (now ArtbackNT Arts Touring). It displayed 34 lithographs, etchings and linocut prints by Indigenous artists who had worked with the Art School's printmaking staff at the NTU Print Workshop between 1993 and 1996. Printabout toured regionally and nationally to 76 venues.

Curated by Ian McLean, a retrospective exhibition of the University Art Collection - Art and Place - was held in 1999.

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.

CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery

Building Orange 12.1.02
Casuarina campus
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Gallery opening hours:
Wed-Fri, 10am-4pm
Sat, 10am

Dr Joanna Barrkman

Eileen Lim
Exhibitions & Collection Officer

T: 08 8946 6621
E: artgallery@cdu.edu.au

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University Art Museums Australia (UAMA)