At the end of 2019 we received the incredible news that the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation would support the development of our Djalkiri Community Collection. This funding has enabled our organisation to advance a project which is close to the hearts of all our art centre members, and significant to the social and cultural strength of the Milingimbi community as a whole.
We are now able to develop an adequately resourced and sustainable collections repatriation, research and sharing hub as part of our art centre. It will be designed to be accessible to Yolŋu of all ages, genders, and levels of initiation in a culturally safe manner.
To date we have been able to repatriate around 5000 digital images from extensive collections of Milingimbi material held around the world. Building on the relationships and protocols for engagement we have forged with a growing number of collecting institutions we hope to recover many more.
We will be developing a unique collections management database which will catalogue, store and enable culturally and linguistically appropriate access by consulting with the community, our linguist, software developers and industry professionals. This process will allow for critical training for arts workers in own-language literacy, as well as collections documentation and management.
The Djalkiri Centre will also assist us to engage with the Milingimbi Education and Cultural Association (MECA) art collection (currently stored in Darwin) as the Yolŋu education resource that it was always intended to be. In time, we hope to work towards our goal of the physical repatriation of this important historical resource for the benefit of all in the community.
We look forward to sharing more about this exciting project over the next three years.