The printmaking team at Charles Darwin University’s Northern Editions Printmaking Studio and Gallery on Australia is playing host to eight visiting artists from Waringarri Arts, in Kununurra WA. The mission of the team is to learn the techniques involved with the art of mokuhanga, which is a traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking technique.
Dating back to several hundreds of years, the group of Indigenous artists is using mokuhanga as a tool to illustrate the stories of their country. The group is currently with the studio on Casuarina campus to create a collection of Japanese-style woodblock prints. Master Printmaker Jacqueline Gribbin is responsible for introducing this Japanese art to the Indigenous artists. She was visited Kununurra earlier this year to hold a workshop and explained this natural form of printmaking.
Gribbin explains that the technique doesn’t require a press or chemicals, and apparently the paints are water based or natural pigments. Traditionally the wood blocks are carved out of cherry wood, but pine or a wood, which is receptive to water, can also be used. The technique is simple to follow and adapt and can be used in remote communities in collaboration with local artists. The use traditional some ochre powder is also possible with the blocks. Waringarri artist Agnes Armstrong has produced several images using “mokuhanga” alongside the printmakers at Northern Editions. She is using the ancient Japanese technique to record traditional Indigenous stories.
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