2018 - Kalkaringi,
Northern Territory

Kalkaringi Infrastructure Upgrades

  • Location: Kalkaringi, Northern Territory
  • Dates: Site Construction: 20 April – 1 May
    Visitor/Arts/Culture Precinct design: 4 May – 26 August

The Bower Studio has been consulting with the Gurindji, Mudpurra and Warlpiri people since 2014 following an invitation to support initiatives improving the Karungkarni arts and culture facilities at Kalkaringi. The community has ambitions to share their stories and history with the broader community and maintain Vincent Lingiari’s legacy as a leader of the land rights movement.

Bower Studio believes in the importance of establishing strong relationships with the community before embarking on such an important design task. It was agreed that a series of intermediate projects would be undertaken in order to establish a more accurate account of the aspirations for a purpose-built arts and culture facility that accommodates the needs of the elders and the local artists as well as helping introduce visitors to the stories important to the Gurindji, Mudpurra and Warlpiri people.

This project built upon the outcomes of the Wave Hill Walk-off Pavilions (Bower 16) completed to celebrate the 50th annual Freedom Day. Consultations with Karungkarni Arts and Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation led to the two-part approach scheduled for 2018 – the first to extend the existing arts centreand the second examining the capacities of the local team to build freestanding shade pavilions locally known as bough sheds.

Additions to the existing arts centre doubled the size of the spaces where artists work and helps encourage a new generation of artists to use the space. The high roof, improved cross ventilation and capacity to see the comings and goings in the community make this space a more comfortable and appropriate place for the Karungkarni artists to work.

The Bower 18 project also supported the local Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation built its first new bough shed beside the shop and fit it out with sun screening, seating and tables. The local team have plans to build an additional six pavilions throughout the community and design the seating and tables to suit the needs of each site.

The Bower Studio team is now working to present final design options to the community that will enable them to apply to funding agencies to secure a new culture/arts/visitor centre planned for completion before the 50th anniversary of the ‘hand-back’ in 2025.

Photographs: Penny Smith and Bower Studio


Bower 2018 Sponsors

Community Partners

  • Karungkarni Arts and Culture
  • Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation

Community Workers

  • Justin Paddy
  • Rhonda Rankin
  • Aldress Donald
  • Carlos Green
  • Estabon Bernard
  • Damien Pennifold
  • Ernest Frank
  • Rob Roy

Studio Leaders

  • David O’Brien
  • George Stavrias
  • James Neil
  • Jack Hinkson
  • Nicky Henderson

With support from Professor Marcia Langton, Dr Lyndon Ormond-Parker, Katie Skillington (Melbourne University), James Danatzis, Miranda Newnham and Alistair Cossart (Arup).

Student Mentors

  • Victoria King
  • Daniel Bisetto


  • James Oberon
  • Claire Kopietz
  • Jorrina Cheng
  • Natalie Keynton
  • Lachlan McMullin
  • Alison Hammer
  • Jia Hao
  • Henry Chhen
  • Elliot Dunton

Special thanks

  • Penny Smith, Karungkarni Arts and Culture
  • Phil Smith, Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation