Charles Darwin University
enews home

Buyers snap up clay menagerie at marketplace

By Patrick Nelson

Visual arts students Peggy Gallagher, Margaret Poulson and Daphne Puntjina make clay animals for Marketplace Visual arts students Peggy Gallagher, Margaret Poulson and Daphne Puntjina make clay animals for Marketplace

Ceramics works made by a group of Charles Darwin University art students from the bush have sold like hot cakes at an exhibition of Indigenous art in Alice Springs.

Nine mature age visual arts students from Areyonga spent a week at Alice Springs campus last month making ceramic bowls, platters and animal figures for the Desert Mob Marketplace, an annual event that offers contemporary Aboriginal art and craft items for sale.

Visual arts lecturer Suzi Lyon said it was the first time these students had taken part in the unique event.

“They are mostly painters, but for the past couple of years they’ve been learning ceramics through the Certificate II in Visual Arts course,” Ms Lyon said.

“Their work is based on some of the animals at Areyonga: birds, camels, donkeys, lizards, and witchetty grubs.

“One of the more intricate pieces features gold explorer Harold Lasseter sitting on a camel, while others have made dinosaurs.”

Ms Lyon said it was no surprise the terra cotta works proved popular, following the experience at the Australian Ceramics Triennale in Canberra this year.

“Several of the Areyonga artists had sgraffito (scratched surface to reveal a lower layer of contrasting colour) vases and animals in the Territory exhibition, which contained works from a broad cross-section of NT artists.

“All of the Areyonga pieces sold, including one piece even going to the United Kingdom.”

Ms Lyon said the Areyonga artists also did well at this year’s Advocate Art Award.

“They entered a 12-piece installation, which was given a ‘highly commended’ by the judges.”

“Most of those pieces have been sold too,” she said.