The Crafts Council of the Northern Territory, now known as Tactile Arts, has been operating as a centre for engagement with the arts since 1973.
The organisation was without a permanent home until 1981 when after much lobbying the Northern Territory Government provided the Crafts Council with purpose-built facilities located in the grounds of the new Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
Prior to having these facilities, the organisation held workshops at different community centres around Darwin. These workshops formed the origin of an artist in residence program that is still running today.
It was also during this time that the Crafts Council presented its first major event, the Asian Summer School, at the Darwin Community College. This event was the first of its kind held by one of the Australian State Craft Councils.
The initiative brought seven artisans skilled in ceramics, batik, jewellery, paper making, weaving, dyeing and basket making to Darwin from across Asia to lead a series of workshops. The artists included Takashi Oyama from Mashiko, Japan and Leo Villaroman from Manila.
The success of this event went on to attract some of the most well-known names in Australian ceramics to present workshops and participate in what is now the longest running artist in residence program in the Northern Territory.
Many of the works collected by the organisation over this time were produced by artists participating in the residency program, or who were visiting to teach advanced ceramic techniques through masterclasses.
Residents and visiting tutors whose works are featured in this exhibition include Peter Anderson, Sandra Black, Kevin Boyd, Bill Connor, Annette Copland, Ian Currie, Greg Daly, Janet Deboos, Claire Freer, Victor Greenaway, Vincent McGrath, Kathrin McMiles, Jeff Minchum and Bryan Truman.
Tactile Arts would like to thank Leonie McNally and Cecily Willis for their assistance researching the collection, and Leonie McNally for the loan of works from her personal collection.