Otto Sims, Yiwarrakurlu (Milky Way, 2011) from Warlukurlangu Art Center, Yuendumu


The University of New Mexico Tamarind Institute brings together two groups of artists from opposite sides of the world to explore the experience of collaborative lithography. During the month of May, Australian Aboriginal artists from the Northern Territory and Native American artists from various locations in the United States and Canada will travel to Albuquerque to work with printers and students in the Tamarind Institute workshop.

The project, LandMarks, gives diverse indigenous artists the opportunity to work as a community, share experiences and artistic styles and explore a common spiritual connection to the land. LandMarks is partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and lithographs produced during this project are expected to be exhibited internationally.

Artists chosen for this project were selected based on their establishment within the contemporary art scene. Many have not had the opportunity to explore the unique expressive tools and visual language of the lithographic process. Native American artists include Chris Pappan, Kaw, Osage, Cheyenne River Sioux; Marie Watt, Seneca; Jewel Shaw, Cree/Metis; and Dyani Reynolds White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota. Aboriginal artists include Djirrirra Wunungmurra, Marie Josette Orsto and Alma Sims.

For several of the artists visiting from Australia, this is their first experience traveling out of the Northern Territories. They will travel with companions who will facilitate communication, allowing for the success of the project. A key element of this project is not only to give artists a new vocabulary through the printmaking process, but also to open new vistas as the artists absorb new landscapes and traditions.

The Albuquerque portion of the project is phase II of LandMarks. The artists met one another in April, when all artists and Tamarind's Master Printer, Bill Lagattuta, traveled to the Northern Territories, on the northeast coast of Australia, to work at the Buru-Larrngay Mulka Art Center. In addition to using woodblock and etching techniques, the Australian artists shared their traditional methods of bark painting. The artists and printers were taken on an excursion to collect bark and natural paints (yellow, black and red ochre) used in this process. Lagattuta said, "It was truly the experience of a lifetime to live among the Australian aboriginal people, and to work and make art side-by-side.

Tamarind has a history of inviting artists of diverse backgrounds to explore shared traditions through the collaborative process of lithography. Last summer Tamarind hosted six artists of African descent in bi-national pairs who created lithographs encompassing themes such as equality, inclusion and identity in Brazil and the United States. Work by all six artists was on display in the Tamarind Gallery in an exhibition titled Afro: Black Identity in America and Brazil, which attracted a record-breaking number of visitors.

Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts at UNM, is a nonprofit center for fine art lithography that trains master printers and houses a professional collaborative studio for artists. Founded in 1960 in Los Angeles, Tamarind has played a significant role in reviving the art of lithography in the United States, and continues to provide professional training and creative opportunities to artists. Tamarind Institute is recognized internationally for its contributions to the growth of contemporary printmaking around the world.

For more information, visit Tamarind Institute, call (505) 277-3901.