Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.


Art, Culture, Country

Partnering with remote Indigenous Art Centres to deliver a landmark digital project that empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create and share unique arts and cultural experiences with the world.

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Milingimbi Art & Culture

Milingimbi Art and Culture is an Indigenous-owned, non-profit corporation which supports Yolŋu culture and sustainable livelihoods for artists on the island of Yurrwi (Milingimbi), in North East Arnhem Land. It is a social, cultural and economic hub for our community. Milingimbi Art provides income for many families living on Milingimbi and its regional homelands and supports Yolŋu from over 12 language groups. In Yolŋu culture the land, sea, ceremony, song, Law and clan designs are inseparable. Milingimbi artists share these inter-connections through the designs, materials and stories used in our distinctive woven, painted and carved artworks.

Lot 53 Gadapu Rd, Milingimbi NT 0822

Featured Artists

Born: 1954

Region: Garriyak

Ruth Nalmakarra was born and grew up in Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). In the late 1960’s she moved to Yurrwi (Milingimbi). Nalmakarra has been constantly engaged with weaving, painting and leading her community throughout her life. She has been weaving since she was a young girl and was taught painting by her family during the Ŋärra (cleansing) ceremony when clan designs are painted on the body. The limited palette and geometric designs of Nalmakarra’s weaving and painting are informed by her Liyagawumirr-Garrawurra clan designs. Nalmakarra has been instrumental in the repatriation of digital images of historical artworks and daily life to Milingimbi and the development of a community collection at the Art Centre. She is passionate about Yolŋu having control of their cultural property, access to cultural materials and recognition as knowledge keepers and researchers.

Born: 1954

Region: Milingimbi

Rose Lanybalanyba is a senior Walamaŋu Gamal woman, skilled weaver and senior law woman for both her Walamaŋu clan and her mother’s Mariŋa clan, two closely connected clan groups that own land in and around the islands and Sea Country of Milingimbi. Rose says she continues weaving to carry on the skills, knowledge and stories her family taught her so she can teach the next generations of her family. “My mother and her mother, they were strong women. They knew everything. They knew their country, their buŋgul (ceremony) and cared for us. I try to follow in their footsteps for my children and grandchildren.”

Born: 1996

Region: Lungutja

Jack’s family is from Milingimbi and the surrounding Crocodile Islands. He was born in Darwin and came to live with my family in Milingimbi when he was 12 years old. Jack started working in the gallery and studio one year ago and loves his job. He loves to work at the Art Centre – making the artworks look beautiful in the gallery and in photos. He loves to learn from the senior artists when he gets to record their stories – sometimes by making films and sometimes writing them down in the computer. Jack says that when he listens to the story, he is learning, and starts to see the artwork differently. Jack specialises in assisting the linguist to document artist’s stories in their languages, and catalogue new artwork. He views this as really fun and important work. Recently, Jack has been working with designers and fashion photographers to develop his stylist skills.

Born: 1948

Region: Gulnga

Margaret Gamuti is a senior Ŋaymil woman and an experienced weaver of both everyday and ceremonial objects. Gamuti’s country lies further east between Elcho Island and Gapuwiyak at Gunda’mirri, but she was born and raised on her kin country at Milingimbi. Gamuti tells the story of when her father, Richard Muḻuyuḻk first moved to Milingimbi as a child before WWII, travelling by lipalipa (dugout canoe) from nearby Gatji on the mainland. Gamuti’s ŋathi (father’s father) was Harry Makarrwalla, a renown warrior, artist and ceremonial leader. Makarrwalla was a close friend and consultant for Lloyd Warner, the first anthropologist to spend considerable time working with Yolŋu while he was based at the Methodist mission in Milingimibi in the late 1920’s. Many international museums and galleries, including the National Museum of Australia, Art Gallery of WA and the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, hold works by Makarrwalla.

Born: 1985

Region: Milingimbi

Leonard was born in the bush between Djimaḏi homeland and the Blythe River where his mothers covered him with raŋan (paperbark). He explains that he and his family didn’t have a need for much clothing. In the late 1990’s his mother took him to the closest settlement, Maningrida (approximately 200km’s away) to attend school, however at the age of 7 or 8 he ran away and returned to his family at their homeland. Leon knows his father’s Gorryindi country and mother’s Walamaŋu Gamal country intricately, as well as the wäŋa, manikay ga rom (country, songlines and law) of those and the connecting Maḻarra and Gamaḻaŋga clans. His father spoke Djinaŋ-Yan-nhaŋu, and his mother spoke Burarra and Walamaŋu and Leon speaks both these languages along with the lingua franca at Milingimbi, Djambarrpuyŋu. Leon now lives at Boḏiya homeland on Milingimbi Island. Boḏiya belongs to the Gorryindi and Gamaḻaŋga clans of the Dhuwa moiety. As a Gorryindi man, this makes Leon owner of the wäŋa ga riŋgitj (country and songline) of Boḏiya. Leon can paint the miny’tji (designs) belonging to Boḏiya and is obliged to watch over and ensure that Walamaŋu people correctly execute their miny’tji, buŋgul ga rom (painting, ceremony and law).

Born: 1960

Region: Djiliwirri

Joe Dhamanydji is the youngest son of renowned artist and Gupapuyŋu cultural leader Tom Djäwa. Djäwa was at the forefront of the contemporary art movement that burst out of Milingimbi in the 1950’s. Dhamanydji attended the mission school and grew up at Yurrwi. As a school age boy he watched Gupapuyngu and their yindipulu (the extended family of his patrilineal clan) including senior Liyagawumirr, Liyagalawumirr, Djambapuyŋu and Djinaŋ’, Warramiri, Manydjikay, Wobulkarra and Murruŋun make their master ochre-on-bark artworks under the shade of the tamarind trees at Ŋarawunhdhu (bottom camp). Dhamanydji was taught to paint his Gupapuyŋu clan miny’tji (designs) by his older brother, Dr. Joe Gumbula, he also has permission to paint some designs belonging to other clans. He was also inspired by his brother’s work as a researcher and academic. Since becoming a recognised contemporary artist Dhamanydji’s artworks have been collected by institutions including the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He is respected for his extensive knowledge of his Gupapuyngu miny’tji and that of other related clans, and has contributed much valued cultural knowledge to a number of national collections.

Born: 1984

Matthew Djipurrtjun, also known as Teapot (a name he inherited from his maternal grandfather), is a Ganalbiŋu Malibirr man. He lives in Milingimbi by his mothers Gamalaŋga country, but his country is around the Arafura Swamp east of Ramingining, a place he visits as often as he can. His family belongs to the Gandarrŋur Malibirr people, whose country is gandarrŋur (meaning ‘in the middle’). Djipurrtjun comes from a strong line of artists, including his father’s father Ŋulmarmar, his father Djilminy, his father’s brother Milpurrurru and aunt Djukuḻuḻ. He also paints his mother’s Gamalaŋga miny’tji (clan design), for which he is djuŋgaya (ritual manager). Djipurrtjun and his brothers were taught by their father to paint, and sing and dance manikay (ancestral songlines). He is active in ceremony and seen as an emerging cultural leader by many in the community. The designs he paints for Milingimbi Art and Culture are miny’tji (sacred clan designs) that are used in Malibirr ceremonies; painted on bodies, memorial poles and other raŋga (ceremonial objects).

Born: 1940

Region: Laŋarra

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra was born in Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). Today she lives on her mother’s country of Laŋarra (Howard Island) and at Yurrwi (Milingimbi Island), both off the coast of Arnhem Land. In the unhurried environment of Laŋarra homeland, Rarru gathers materials and processes them into artworks, imbued with their ancestral origins and Rarru’s drive to create new distinct forms. Rarru is a senior artist and master weaver at Milingimbi Art and Culture, and a respected elder amongst the community. Rarru speaks little English, however she engages with the Balanda (European) world through her art practice, becoming well known for her ‘Madonna Bra’ bathi (baskets) and wearable pieces as well as her minimalist forms including Mindirr Mol (black conical baskets). Whilst the technique of immersion dyeing has been widely practiced in Arnhem Land since the arrival of missionaries, the recipe for creating black dye from local plants was developed later and refined by Rarru. Yolŋu weavers respect her as the owner of mol (black) and whilst they may know the recipe and occasionally use small amounts of it, the use of mol alone in a work is reserved for Rarru and those to whom she gives permission.

A Project by Agency

UPLANDS is an immersive digital project that has been designed to celebrate Indigenous Art Centres and share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic and cultural practices with the world.

This large scale immersive digital mapping project features over twenty remote Indigenous Art Centres, and interviews with over 150 Indigenous artists and arts workers from across the country.

UPLANDS is a project by Agency and has been funded by the Australian Government through the Restart to Invest, Sustain and Expand (RISE) program and the Indigenous Visual Art Industry Support (IVAIS) program.




Principal Partner

Government Partners

Project Partners

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Sovereign Custodians of the land on which we live and work. We extend our respects to their Ancestors and all First Nations peoples and Elders past, present, and future.