25 October 2023

Vision for a Northern Territory Ceramics Centre

Early next year, when the dust settles on our major 2023 Arts Trail construction works, the current Godinymayin reception desk and retail shop will relocate to a larger space adjoining our entrance and future outdoor deck. And then what?

The glass cube room that has greeted thousands and thousands of visitors over the years will become vacant—begging out for creative re-purposing. At this very moment, we’re developing an answer that will fill it with unique hand-made objects and, we hope, become a destination for people from all over Australia and the world.

Welcome to the Northern Territory Ceramics Centre—a new ongoing home for a diverse and ever-changing collection of pottery and ceramic objects. 

It doesn’t exist yet, but our team are now connecting with studios and art centres, building new partnerships, talking with advisers, and seeking out the most interesting potters in the Territory. We have a vision for a new permanent gallery space—separate from our other exhibition and retail areas—dedicated to the promotion and celebration of Territory ceramics. We see it as Katherine’s new place to discover, learn about, and collect clay objects made from Borroloola to Lajamanu and from Darwin to Alice Springs. 

Even the National Gallery in Canberra, which holds a significant collection of Australian ceramics, is keen to help out. Through their new Sharing the National Collection initiative, our future Northern Territory Ceramics Centre might also house and showcase a few rare objects and the country’s most notable clay-based art. 

These keynote pieces, on loan to Godinymayin and not for sale of course, will be joined by hundreds of other objects. Those will be made in the Territory—representing contemporary, Indigenous, traditional, and non-Indigenous ceramic art—and for sale to residents and visitors.  

Advising us closer to home is Godinymayin board member, Katherine artist, and master ceramicist Danny Murphy—whose knowledge of the field is broad and diverse. As you read this column, Danny is putting the feelers out across the region and beyond—forging the connections that will help us activate the Northern Territory Ceramics Centre sometime in 2024. 

We expect this new aspect to open inside the cultural centre by April or May—in time for the dry season and grand re-opening of our amphitheatre, deck, cafe, and expanded facilities. Until then, as far as we can tell, there is no permanent centre for Territory-wide ceramics—so Godinymayin and dozens of our friends will remedy that. 

When Troppo Architects began designing the new facilities in 2020 as part of our Arts Trail expansion, their plan was to demolish our current retail shop and make it foyer space. Wait just a minute, we said, the centre might need that interesting space for the future. Next year, that notion and our former retail shop will come back to life as the Northern Territory Ceramics Centre. We hope you’ll join us when things cool down for what is shaping up to be a creative and culturally-rich year ahead.

— Eric Holowacz
Chief Executive Officer

Dawn Beasley
Danny Murphy

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