In May 2021 we hosted the first traveling exhibition to come to Milingimbi. Long water; fibre stories celebrates the spiritual, ancestral, and physical connections to water through fibre practices of artists from Yuwaalaraay (North West NSW), Quandamooka (Moreton Bay, South East QLD), Kuku Yalanji (Far North QLD), Zenadh Kes (Torres Strait Islands, QLD) and Yurrwi (Milingimbi Island, NT). Together this group—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, spanning different generations and ancestries—share an inseparable relationship to water, be it the vast sea, inland waterways, or expansive river systems.
We were proud to share with our community the stunning artworks by Susan Balbunga, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Sonja Carmichael, Fiona Elisala-Mosby, Janet Fieldhouse, Ruth Nalmakarra with Helen Ganalmirriwuy and Mandy Batjula, Paula Savage, Lucy Simpson, and Delissa Walker. Artists Sonja and Elisa Carmichael as well as curator Freja Carmichael were in residence at the art and culture centre and worked with us to deliver daily workshops for groups of school children. Wilson Manydjarri and Jacob Ganambarr sung manikay and played yidaki for use to dance bungul during the closing ceremony.
Our chairperson, Ruth Nalmakarra, expressed that the opportunity to come together brought joy to the community.
We are grateful to the many people and organisations that made this very special event possible. Thank you Freja Carmichael and the team at the Institute of Modern Art Queensland, Museum and Galleries Queensland, the Australia Council of the Arts and String Harvest.
Visit the Institute of Modern Art Queensland website to learn more about Long water; fibre stories and the exhibiting artists.
Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation
The Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation is a community owned Art Centre that maintains an important position in the national art and cultural arena. Milingimbi Art and Culture has a long history of producing works steeped in active cultural practice such as barks, ceremonial poles, carvings and weavings. Works from Milingimbi are integral to important collections in many National and International institutions.
Gululu dhuwala Djalkiri: welcome to the Yolŋu Foundations, Chau Chak Wing Museum, Sydney University. 18 Nov 2020 to August 2021. Representing more than 20 Yolŋu clan groups and 100 artists from eastern Arnhem Land, Gululu dhuwala djalkiri: welcome to the Yolŋu foundations (18 Nov 2020 – August 2021) is one of the major exhibitions for the opening of the University of Sydney’s new Chau Chak Wing Museum. The 350 artworks in Gululu dhuwala djalkiri represent generations of Yolŋu artists and include pieces dating back to the period following the establishment of Methodist missions in Milingimbi and Yirrkala, the late 1920s and 1940s. There anthropologists from the University acquired artworks and objects and took photographs in consultation with Yolŋu as an integral part of their researches. The exhibition also features new work, including a series of hollow logs made by artists of Milingimbi Art and Culture which were a centrepiece of the 2016 Milingimbi Makarraṯa.
Gularri: Yothu yindi. Water Scapes from northern Australia, 22 July to 26 September 2021. Musée du Quai Branly, Paris.
Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy at Outstation Gallery, Darwin. Opening 20 March 2021.
Cross Art Projects, Sydney. 2021. Renown Milingimbi artist Margaret Rarru will exhibit a selection of weavings and drawings inspired by Macassan /Yolŋu trade alngside artworks by Indonesian artist Ipeh Nur.
Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Convention Centre, 6 to 8 August 2021.
Tarnanthi Art Fair, Adelaide. October 2021.
Bäpurru ga Bäpurru, 26 August 2020 to 10 January 2021, Kluge Ruhe, USA. An exhibition of recent print works from Milingimbi and Yirrkala. Works from Milingimbi will include the Bäpurru Memorial suite created in honour of the late Mrs Gorriyindi who passed sudden shortly after working as follow with the Kluge Ruhe in 2018.
Long Water: fibre stories, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 5 September–19 December 2020. A survey exhibition of Indigenous weavers curated by Freja Carmichael. Susan Balbunga, Ruth Nalmakarra, Helen Ganalmirriwuy and Mandy Batjula have created a series of pieces that express the artists connection to water through their weaving practice.
Tarnanthi: Open Hands 16 Oct 2020 – 31 Jan 2021. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. Milingimbi artists; Susan Balbunga,Wilson Manydjarri, Helen Ganalmirriwuy, Margaret Rarru, Mandy Batjula, Ruth Nalmakarra, Paddy Mugabi, Matthew Djipurrtjun, Samual Wumulul and Jacob Ganambarr have created an installation of mindirr, miny’tji, ḏupun ga manikay (weaving, painting, memorial poles and song) that explores the interconnection of these art forms, and the märi gutharra (grandparent and grandchild) relationship of the Garrawurra and Gamalaŋga clans.
Tarnanthi Art Fair, at Lot fourteen, 4 to 6 December 2020. This year’s Art Fair features a curated display of selected works for sale, handpicked by community-run art centres to highlight established and next-generation artists. It also includes shop-style sales of countless works by artists from across Australia. In addition, a program of digital presentations will show artists making their work and discussing their motivations, traditions and environment.
Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion, Bendigo Art Gallery. 31 October to 29 November 2020. Brings together a selection of garments and textiles by First Nations designers and artists from around Australia including Margaret Rarru’s woven pandanus Madonna Bra and Bathi.
Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Convention Centre, August 2020. (This will be an online event)
Wrapped, Woven & Wound, JamFactory, Adelaide. 15 May to 12 July 2020. Presents work from eight female artists, including a mix of sculptural, decorative and functional pieces that explore the use of interlaced or wrapped components. Including works by Mandy Batjula.
The Magic of Black and White, Siemenstraße 40, 71735 Eberdingen-Nussdorf, 19 January 2019 to 1 March 2020. A group exhibition featuring artworks by Australian and Papua New Guinean First Nations People. With a focus on the reduced palette of ‘black and white’ this exhibition features Helen Ganalmirriwuy’s stunning Mol (black) weaving.
The Alchemists: Weaving Knowledge, The Goods Shed, Perth, 4 October 2019. A survey of recent contemporary fibre art from Aboriginal artists and art centres across the country.
Pandanus Noir; Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy selected weavings, RAFT Artspace, Alice Springs, 2 October 2019. An exbibition featuring a selection of Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy’s Mol (black) woven artworks and several other monochrome pieces.
Ngalya (Together), Koskela, Sydney, 28 August to 22 September 2019. The collection of collaborative lighting designs between designers Koskela and six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres – Bula’Bula Arts, Durrmu Arts, Milingimbi Art and Culture, Moa Arts, Ngarrindjeri Weavers, and Tjanpi Desert Weavers – highlights the innovation and contemporary transformations taking place in Indigenous fibre arts and cultures across Australia. Also on exhibition at Tarnanthi Festival, from 18 October 2019
Contemporary Art from Asia, Australia and the Pacific: A Selection of works from QAGOMA’s Asia Pacific Triennial’ is at Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago, Chile from 22 August – 8 December 2019 Including artworks (paintings on bark, memorial poles and weavings) by Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy.
The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Memorial Poles, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, United States of America, 31 July 2019. A survey of contemporary memorial poles from Arnhem Land collected by Debra and Denis Scholl.
GOMA Asia Pacific Triennial, 24 Nov 2018 – 28 Apr 2019 . The Asia Pacific Triennial brings significant art from across the Asia Pacific and Australia to GOMA Brisbane. This exhibition includes Margaret Rarru and Helen Ganalmirriwuy master weavers who also paint their clan body designs in minimalist patterns on barks and poles.
ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany. Exhibition opening 14th September
Local Colour: experiments with nature, University of New South Wales Gallery, 28 July, 2018 – 15 September. As the world has become more globalised, people are seeking meaning, connection and everyday solutions in their local communities and environments. Local Colour explores recent art and design practice premised on a concern for environmental sustainability and the conservation of natural resources.
National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Art Awards. Museum and Gallery Northern Territory, 11 August – 11 November 2018
Gapu Moṉuk, Animal Logic, Ground Floor, 1632 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, USA, 3-20 May 2018, Gallery Hours 11am – 5pm, Thursday through Sunday
Earth Matters at Form Gallery, Perth. 29 September – 28 February 2018
This exhibition explores the enigmatic qualities and materiality of white earth pigments in Aboriginal artwork from the Kimberley (WA), Arnhem Land (NT) and Tiwi Islands (NT) in paintings, and three dimensional works.
Berndt Museum of Anthropology, University of Western Australia at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth, 26th July – 16th December, 2017. Brinning together artworks from the museums historical collection and recently commissioned memorial poles.
Milingimbi Art and Culture: Gapu Moṉuk, Embassy of Australia, Washington D.C, USA, 3 October, 2017
Gapu ga Rangithirri ga Ngurruthirri ga: the water is coming up, the water is going away at Woolloongabba Art Gallery, Brisbane 613 Stanley St, Woolloongabba, Qld, 26 September – 22 October, 2017
Walma / Moon Rising, Koskela Gallery, Sydney, 29 July – 27 August, 2017
Art from Milingimbi: Taking Memories Back, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 12 November, 2016 – 29 January, 2017. This exhibition provides a snapshot of the artistic excellence evident in the community in the 1950s, celebrating the work of Binyinyuwuy, Buranday, Dayngangan, Dawidi, Djäwa, Djimbarrdjimbarrwuy, Lipundja and Makani, alongside the wider artistic practices in the community at the time.
Yolngu’yulnguy Ngayatham Miny’tji Danydjay Romdhu (Everyone, past present future, we all hold and look after our sacred designs in the depth of the law), Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney, 12 – 30 November, 2016