2023 - Kalkaringi,
Northern Territory

Karungkarni Art Centre Upgrade #2

  • Location: Kalkaringi, Northern Territory
  • Dates: Site Construction: 22 April – 3 May

The artist community working at the Karungkarni Arts Centre were keen for Bower Studio to return and continue to support their vibrant arts program. The directors are aware of the importance of keeping culture strong with a facility that encourages the connections between arts, language and country.
Following on from the 2018 Bower Studio project that doubled the space available to artists at the centre we were asked to return to complete further improvements in a staged program across 2023 and 2024.

Consultation began in 2021 when independent thesis students, Gina Dahl and Alice Woods, took on a role designing options for Stage 2 and 3. Primary aims for these stages including expanding the space available for painters, improving the capacity of the centre to moderate temperature and dust as well as improving the capacity to store and exhibit artworks for sale. Prioritising the visual link to the Karungkarni hills was highly important as the existing centre had poor visual connections to the hills despite the arts centre being named for these cultural landmarks. Maintaining the architectural forms and tectonics of the previous upgrade remained important to the artists.

The immediate design and consultation periods led to a period of materials procurement and prefabrication of key structural components. This ‘kit of parts’ was loaded into a shipping container in Melbourne and transported to Kalkaringi by train and truck arriving one week before the Bower construction team arrived. Over 11 days the team assembled and clad the structure – adding 50m2 of additional floor area and opening the east side of the building to the Karungkarni hills.

The plywood ceiling panels incorporate designs made by Karungkarni artists. Painted artworks were transcribed into computer files by a Gurindji graphic designer before being sent to the MSD FabLab team (thanks Jack and Jess) for fabricating on the CNC machine.

Overview video of BOWER 2023 by Chukang Liang.

BOWER 2023 - Timelapse


Bower 2018 Sponsors

Community Partners

  • Karungkarni Arts and Culture
  • Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation

Community Leaders

  • Leah Leahman
  • Violet Wadrill
  • Rosemary Johnson
  • Rachael Morris
  • Richard Long
  • Phillip Jimmy
  • Penny Smith (Manager)

Studio Leaders

  • David O’Brien
  • George Stavrias
  • James Neil
  • Gina Dahl

Steel Fabricator

  • Jack Hinkson

Student Mentor/Designers

  • Gina Dahl
  • Alice Wood


  • Melissa Ivelja
  • Rhea Nagi
  • Chukang Liang
  • Hugh Foster
  • Maxime Espitalier-Noel
  • Isabella Fyfe
  • Joel Tito
  • Sylvia Marshall
  • Neve Elliott
  • Kudzai Mapokotera
  • Xavier Barnett
  • Coco Swansson

Special thanks

  • Penny Smith, Manager Karungkarni Arts and Culture