Batchelor Institute » Dalirra-g exhibition sheds light on Batchelor Institute Art Collection
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Date:July 28, 2022

Dalirra-g exhibition sheds light on Batchelor Institute Art Collection

Patricia Marfurra, Lotus in Bloom (detail), 1994, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist and Merrepen Arts.

Patricia Marfurra, Lotus in Bloom (detail), 1994, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist and Merrepen Arts.

The upcoming Dalirra-g (In the Light) exhibition represents a small but rewarding glimpse into the expansive Batchelor Institute Art Collection.

The exhibition opens as part of the Garrmalang Festival on 29-31 July 2022 at The Gallery, and continues as part of the Darwin Entertainment Centre’s August program through to 28 August 2022.

Meaning ‘in the light’ in Larrakia language, Dalirra-g interprets ‘light’ or ‘in the light’ in various ways. Many of the works have recently emerged from storage and are, through the exhibition, seeing the light of day. They also convey ideas around light as a source of life, survival, growth and knowledge.

Dalirra-g is the Institute’s sixth collection-based exhibition, and has been curated by Maurice O’Riordan of Batchelor Institute Press. It presents 33 works dating from approximately 1993 to 2022, ranging from paintings to photography, printmaking and sculpture.

These have been selected from the overall Batchelor Institute Art Collection, which numbers around 800 artworks and is considered the nation’s largest Indigenous-owned art collection as well as a significant part of the Distributed National Collection.

Much of the wider collection takes pride of place on display within campus buildings at Batchelor Campus and the Desert People’s Centre in Alice Springs. With works spanning five decades, the collection has been accumulated through the Institute’s artist-in-residence and master artist-in-residence programs, the Coomalie Cultural Centre, community art centres, commercial galleries, event-related exhibitions, and as gifts or donations.

In this way, Dalirra-g also sheds light on the Institute’s foundational narrative as the nation’s longest-running dual-sector education provider for First Nations students.

The 33 works exhibited in Dalirra-g are primarily by NT-based artists, reflecting the focus of the Institute’s training programs.

Artists hail from Nauiyu (Daly River), Maningrida, Ramingining, Yirrkala, Tennant Creek, Lajamanu, Minyerri, Wadeye, Urapunga (near Ngukurr), Alice Springs, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti (Tiwi Islands), Woolaning and Batchelor area, Darwin, Millingimbi, Haasts Bluff, Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa), Watiyawanu (Mt Liebig), Mutitjulu and Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the NT.

Looking further afield, artists from Marble Bar and Fitzroy Crossing in WA, Pukatja (Ernabella) in SA, and Brewarrina and Sydney in NSW are also represented.

The exhibition includes work by some of Indigenous art’s leading lights of recent decades, joined by work from artists who may be less known but are no less talented. Distinguished by both quality and diversity, the collection brings forth a wealth of stories both in the artworks themselves and from the artists who made them.


Venue: The Gallery, Darwin Entertainment Centre, 93 Mitchell Street, Darwin

Dates: Friday 29 July to Sunday 28 August. For detailed dates and times check the event page.

Cost: Free