Governance & ownership

Injalak Arts has strong governance and a sound management team with years of experience. This is what gives Provenance Arts such good foundations.

Injalak Arts governance

Injalak Arts team members early 2017

Injalak Arts is the trading name of an incorporated Association whose members are drawn from the artists and community. Any Kunwinjku speaking Aboriginal person over the age of 18 can be a member. The Management Committee has 9-10 members and is required to meet at least 6 times per year. Donna Nadjamerrek is the chairperson and Christopher Galamirnda the Deputy Chair. See the full list of Management Committee Members.

The Association has a number of objectives, with the major emphasis being cultural maintenance and economic self-determination. In its constitution, the Association aims to “support and enrich the culture of the people in this area” and provide economic benefits for the residents of Gunbalanya and its outstations while being non-profit making.

Injalak Arts is widely seen as a good governance model and is recognised as one of the most dynamic and successful Indigenous art centres in Australia.

Injalak Arts team:

Donna Nadjamerrek – Chairperson

Donna Nadjamerrek (right) with Wendy Kennedy, co-founder of Injalak Arts – together at Injalak Arts 25th Birthday Party

Donna Nadjamerrek has been our Chairperson for more than eight years. The fourth and youngest daughter of world-renowned artist Bardayal (Lofty) Nadjamerrek (dec) she is a champion of Kunwinjku art and culture. Donna’s leadership has been critical in the growth of Injalak Arts in the last decade. A strong proponent of good governance she walks in two worlds balancing her day job as Indigenous Engagement Coordinator for The Office of Prime Minister & Cabinet and her private time being active in Aboriginal-owned community organisations and a highly respected community member. Donna lives in Gunbalanya, however, her homeland is Kabulwarnamyo to the north-east. She is a Board Member of ANKA.

Gabriel Maralngurra – Co-Manager

Gabriel painting on Arches paper, on the veranda at Injalak Arts

When in his early twenties Gabriel Maralngurra was one of the co-founders of Injalak Arts in 1989 and continues to be a driving force behind the art centre today. He is an ambassador and intercultural mediator for Kunwinjku culture, having worked many years a fabric screen-printer and designer, a tour guide, Kunwinjku-English translator, Injalak Arts board member and chairperson, and now Co-Manager of Injalak Arts. He has also travelled widely around Australia and internationally for art related events. In 2016 Injalak Arts published his first book – The Kunwinjku Counting Book – and it is now in its second edition. The worldwide hardcover rights have been acquired by Enchanted Lion and will be printed in 2019.

As a co-founder, it is in large part Gabriel’s vision and belief in the mission of the art centre that has allowed it to carry on and thrive. He has helped create a place where the Art History of West Arnhem Land can be continued, developed, experienced by others and through apprenticeships to younger generations. Most visitors meet Gabriel as he is nearly always found at his (veranda) studio at the art centre.

Benson (Isaiah) Nagurrgurrba – Co-Manager

Isaiah looking at his fabric design ‘djenj’ – fish in the Injalak Arts print workshop

Benson is an artist and screen printer who has been a member of Injalak Arts since 1989. Initially, he worked solely as a screen printer but in time moved to being an active and acclaimed painting with an elegant, minimalist style. An animated storyteller with a vivid sense of humour he is also a ceremonial elder with networks across the Top End of Australia. He moved into a leadership position at Injalak Arts in 2013 and is an excellent ambassador and communicator to non-Indigenous people with his thoughtful eloquence. Benson’s artworks have been licensed for reproduction by Yijan/Balarinji since the early 1990s and still sells well. In 2018 a poem he co-wrote and created an illustration for was included in the poetry anthology A Boat of Stars published by ABC Books. There are currently discussions about it becoming a children’s book.

Felicity Wright – Mentor Manager

Felicity Wright in Injalak Arts’ print workshop

It is not often an art centre manager returns for a second stint – and in this case it was definitely not planned. After being the first manager of Injalak Arts from 1991-95, Felicity worked with art centres all over Australia in a range of capacities including as a researcher and then as a strategic business planner and marketing consultant. Along the way she researched and published The Art & Craft Centre Story – Volumes I-III. Now having worked with Indigenous people in more than 70 sites around Australia, specialising in but not restricted to art centres, she has learned a lot about remote community art centres and social enterprises. Returning to Injalak Arts as a short term Change Manager at the end of 2012, she found it difficult to leave. Injalak Arts, with its location and volume of visitors every year, is an ideal place for someone whose strength is an intercultural mediator. The Kunwinjku people are unique in their graciousness under pressure, after more than a century of being at the frontier of Arnhem Land and having to deal with all who want to enter.  Injalak Arts is a place where it has been possible to broaden and deepen many non-Indigenous people’s understanding and respect for Indigenous knowledge systems and ways of being.