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Curator’s invitation to explore behind the scenes

By Leanne Miles

Art Collection and Art Gallery curator Joanna Barrkman is welcoming staff and students into the gallery this month Art Collection and Art Gallery curator Joanna Barrkman is welcoming staff and students into the gallery this month

The new curator of the Charles Darwin University Art Collection and Art Gallery is welcoming staff and students into the gallery this month for a look at the innerworkings of the collection component of the gallery.

An expert in South-east Asian art and material culture, Ms Joanna Barrkman took on the curator’s role earlier this year after working in the arts and performing arts sector in the Northern Territory for more than 20 years. 

Ms Barrkman will open the gallery to staff, students and local arts industry representatives to observe the processing of a special cultural gift from 7 to 10 July.

“This major gift of 99 works donated by artists Christopher Hodges and Helen Eager has been offered to us under the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program,” Ms Barrkman said.

“We will be accessioning these 72 woodblock prints (by 70 artists form Utopia, created in 1990); 16 silkscreen prints; 11 other drawings and paintings on paper into the CDU Art Collection.

“The Indigenous prints in particular mark an important historical period in an under-represented area of our holdings, namely the Utopia region and Kintore community.”

Ms Barrkman said the CDU Art Collection was extensive and contained pieces of national and international significance.

“This is a great opportunity for staff and students to not only view such a large gift, but also to learn more about the development of the collection and the documentation process involved,” she said. 

“This is an exceptional and generous gift that will be acknowledged through the CDU Foundation. It represents a pre-eminent gift of Indigenous graphic works or art to the CDU Art Collection by private donors.”

Ms Barrkman’s expertise in South-east Asian art and material culture is complemented by a working knowledge of Pacific art and Australian Indigenous art. She was the Senior Curator of South-east Asian Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory from 2003 – 2012 and has worked as a curator in the United States and South-east Asia. Most recently Ms Barrkman worked at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

In 2014 she was the recipient of the Australian Endeavour Awards Fellowship for field research, Timor-Leste. In 2009 she received the Sidney Myer Fund Grant for curatorial research into Timorese art and material culture in European and North American cultural collections (New York, Dallas, Ontario, Amsterdam, Berlin, Basel, Vienna and London).

The gift of 99 works will be accessioned into the CDU Art Collection between 10am and 1pm, 8 to 10 July in the CDU Art Gallery, CDU Casuarina campus, building Orange 12.

For further information visit W: cdu.edu.au/artcollection-gallery