Art History

Shifting Ground Exhibition

Explores the dynamic terrain of Australian Indigenous printmaking.

Shifting Ground showcases works by twenty-two artists, who have produced prints with Basil Hall Editions.

Established by master printmaker Basil Hall, who began working collaboratively with artists in the early 1980s, Basil Hall Editions has worked for more than two decades with several hundred artists, many based within Aboriginal run art centers in the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia, and who have been introduced to print through visiting workshops.

In 2022, Hall donated a vast collection of 1,316 workshop proofs to the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, which is becoming a center for the study of Indigenous prints. The collection represents a complex roving topography of Indigenous contemporary art practice from the last twenty years, traversing works by senior and emerging artists, significant collaborative projects, engagements with renowned print artists, and a diversity of experimental and singular approaches to the print medium.

This exhibition explores the transformative effects of print collaborations – shifting practice, opening-up new ground, and instantiating new material, conceptual, and visual languages. For many of these artists, engagement with print has led to the production of some of their most iconic artworks; and for some it has become a recurring and central practice. The prolific travel of studio-workshops like Basil Hall Editions across Australia, and the intensive engagement of collaborating artists, has established print as a major phenomenon in Indigenous art, marking new ground in a multitude of ways.  


Image: Detail of GULUMBU YUNUPINU, Garak, 2008, etching on Hahnemühle paper, collaborator: Basil Hall, Jacqueline Gribbin; printer: Jacquelin Gribbin, Monique Auricchio. Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia, gift of Basil Hall, 2023.0006.011.001. Courtesy of the estate of the artist and Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre.