New screen printing studio at Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya

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Part of a $1 million Arts Trail investment that aims to capitalise on growing interest in Indigenous textiles.

The new screen printing studio is up and running at Injalak Arts in Gunbalanya as part of a $1 million Arts Trail investment that aims to capitalise on growing interest in Indigenous textiles.

Injalak artists and screen printers have been busy preparing a new one off collection with designer Ally Beahan that was showcased at Melbourne Fashion Week as part of the Ganbu Marra runway, celebrating First Nations textile and fashion design.

The First Nations runway event also featured textile designs and fashion collections from Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts with Aly de Groot and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists from Alice Springs.

Manager Injalak Arts Michael Stitfold said the upgrade enables Injalak to increase their capacity for screen printing with more space and expanding from one seven metre table to two 14 metre tables in the new screen printing studio.

“Indigenous textiles as a market is really gaining traction and we are expecting to see an increase in demand that these upgrades will allow us to meet,” he said.

“Being able to display at Melbourne Fashion Week is a great way to stimulate demand in our work and get our two tables really firing with quality lengths of hand printed textiles.

“There is a real appreciation for hand printed fabrics from the source and buyers are really looking for unique products that show a social conscience.”

Michael said Injalak Arts screen printing operation was one of a small number of hand printed operations across Australia.

“Like so many things, mechanised bulk printing has taken over but there is still something very special about creating bespoke fabrics by hand,” he said.

“They may not have the precise perfection of a machine print but the small imperfections that come with hand screening actually adds to the charm of the handmade product.”

Territory Families, Housing and Communities Director Arts Trail and Remote Arts, Angela Hill said the Northern Territory contribution to the upgrades and completion of the new screen printing studio were funded through the Arts Trail Gallery Extension Program.

Construction of the new building was also supported by the Australian Government.

“This was a significant funding investment and partnership to ensure the wonderful screen printing work in Gunbulanya can grow and expand,” she said.

“The Northern Territory has a rich history of creating fine art and hand screen printed textiles featuring Aboriginal designs in remote Aboriginal owned art centres. The Arts Trail Gallery Extension Program funding supports infrastructure upgrades to meet the growing interest and demand for Aboriginal art and cultural experiences.

“I’ve got no doubt the work of Injalak will turn plenty of heads at Melbourne Fashion Week and inspire visitors to come to the Territory to experience firsthand our local textiles and fashion industry and the dynamic production of Aboriginal hand screen printed textiles.”

Velda Nabulwad wearing injalak fabric designed printed and constructed in Gunbalanya. Photo: Nina Haigh courtesy Injalak Arts

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