Art Centre: A Day in the Life…

From sun up to sun down, the Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists Studio is constantly creating.

Interview: Camilla Wagstaff

The Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists Studio in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) works directly with Aboriginal artists living with a disability, fostering important opportunities for these talents to develop and receive recognition for their practices.

The Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists hail from communities across the Central Desert. Their creative processes are an expression of self and connection to Country – an act that sustains personal and cultural identity.

Here is a typical day at the Art Centre, as told by Bindi Art Development Specialist Liz Pedersen.


First to arrive each day is artist Adrian Robertson. He’s a very punctual man and will arrive at 8:45am latest, basking in the garden’s sunshine until the studio doors open at 9am. Robertson is a talented painter who paints from memory, engaging a restricted palette and unique mark-making to portray his Country and family. He won the prestigious Alice Prize last year.

The studio opens at 9am and the artists are heads down brushes up at 9:01am, no later.

It’s mostly fellas who paint in the morning. They have been painting the morning session since the beginning and are great friends. The fellas are very focused and work quietly, it is a calm space where their creativity can thrive. Sometimes some of the women artists will join the sessions with the fellas, it’s a welcoming space.

Charlie Pride, a crowd favourite, often plays over the speakers as the art support workers round up and distribute tea orders. Each artist has their own favourite mug and we have a cheat sheet above the kettle with how everyone takes their tea.


Break time is at 10:15am. We’re usually reminded by artist Billy Kenda singing “break tiiiiime” with a smiling nod to the clock (Kenda is a finalist in this year’s NATSIAA). The artists head out to the Bindi Garden, share a smoke and sip their teas. Occasionally the art support workers will join them.

Break time is special as the hardworking artists who are usually concentrating their energy onto canvas take time to relax and start talking story and sharing their language, life and culture. This is true for most of the artists. Except Robertson, who laps up every minute of studio painting time with no break.


Some of the artists have other commitments or programs in the afternoon and head home at lunch time.

Others have been working on different projects (like our current Digital Art Program) and will break in the Bindi Garden for lunch.

On special occasions, we all gather for a big barbecue in the garden. There’s always bread, salad, sausages, and an array of condiments. Country music (of course) continues to drift out of the studio.


In the afternoon, if the art support workers aren’t required to support anyone in the studio, they move through the constant checklist of never-ending tasks.

New artworks, which are usually photographed in the morning sun, are catalogued into the SAM database, ready to be submitted for any adventure, art award, exhibition, or art fair. Most recently Conway Ginger’s work was selected to be on the footy jerseys for the Footy 4 Life program. This program is based in Mparntwe and offers an opportunity for people living with a disability to play the game. Conway is well regarded for his ink and wash works on paper – their immediacy and honesty speaking to many.

Sales orders are checked and packed. We pack the artworks very carefully using recycled cardboard from businesses around Mparntwe. The delivery man will collect the packed artworks from the front gallery.

Some afternoons we have dedicated sessions for the women artists in the studio. This session is a great opportunity to hold space for the women and is quite social and lively. We all sit together around the big table,  chattering and singing as the artists work. The music bounces between Willie Nelson, Jimmy Barnes and Tina Turner.


As the end of the day approaches, we usually keep the music playing and give the studio a good tidy. The art support workers will do some social media and marketing, looking at any images and artworks from the day. Robertson is usually the last to pack up. If he had it his way, he would always be the last to leave… or just paint right through the night!

This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 106, October-December 2023. 

Featured image: Billy Tjampitjinpa Kenda adding details to a work. Courtesy: the artist and Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists Studio, Mparntwe.


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