In the far Eastern corner of Arnhem Land sits Yirrkala Print Space, where, for over twenty years, the craft of printmaking has prospered. Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression celebrates this space with works from 50 artists, providing a privileged insight into the nuanced art of the Yolngu people of Northeast Arnhem Land.
The exhibition title, Balnhdhurr, translates to mean a mark made as a sign for people to follow. It describes a situation where one group goes ahead but wants to leave a message for those following behind. An impression is scratched into the ground with a sign directing the future viewer to follow the right path.
With works from 50 artists, Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression includes prints that are historically significant. The Berndt Etchings series talks about the Berndt Crayon Drawings of Yirrkala, produced by the artists’ predecessors in 1947, while String Figure Prints are a response to another archaeological collection from 1948. Pieces in this exhibition also reveal the significant impact the introduction of bright acrylics had on artists, which allowed them to explore a whole new genre of artistic storytelling that became a joyous explosion of colour and expression.
Balnhdhurr – A Lasting Impression provides an opportunity for a wider audience to recognise the accomplishments of a sustainable, functional and thriving print studio operating in an isolated landscape. Yirrkala Print Space began in 1995 when a purpose built area was designed to host a printing press. With over 800 editions by 137 produced through the studio since then, Yirrkala Print Space has become an integral and vital component of the community.
This exhibition is supported by the Visions regional touring program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to cultural material for all Australians.