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Art and About - Outstation Gallery

Outstation Gallery is celebrating a decade in Darwin this year. To mark the occasion in May, the gallery held a collaborative exhibition with Maningrida Arts and Culture, where the idea for Outstation originally emerged.

By Isabella Mellios

Director Matt Ward had a chat with Off The Leash to tell us more.

How did Outstation start?
After living in Maningrida as a schoolteacher, I was asked to set up and run the Maningrida Arts and Culture Gallery in Darwin. After three years I set up Outstation to work with unrepresented, emerging artists from remote communities.
 
What was your inspiration for the gallery?
Seeing the direct benefits that art centres provide to communities, I wanted to support and help educate about the importance of purchasing Aboriginal art ethically.
 
Where did your passion and eye for art come from?
Growing up in Canberra I used to be dragged to the National Gallery by my parents. I then did an anthropology degree at the Australian National University, which focused my attention and interest in Aboriginal art.
 
What is it about Indigenous art that interests you?
The way that artists use traditional narratives to inform their practice, then depict these stories in contemporary ways, and how artists use their art to communicate with the wider world.
 
Have you noticed any trends in Indigenous art over the last 10 years?
We now see artists producing digital photography, video work, metal sculpture, and animation, as well as new materials like the (etched metal) piece by Guynbi Ganambarr (which won the) NATSIAA this year.
 
What have been your highlights over the last decade?
Establishing the Salon des Refusés with Paul Johnstone Gallery; placing work in national and international institutions; in 2011 some private collectors purchased an entire exhibition and gifted it to the National Museum; spending time with the artists we represent.
 
 
Images: Outstation Gallery; exhibition with Tjarlirli Art, June 2018
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