Housed in an historic earth-rendered Mission building constructed by our forefathers in the 1930s, today the most important work of Milingimbi Art and Culture includes creating culturally relevant artworks, employment and governance systems which are underpinned by Yolŋu world view and values.
We have recently secured funding from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and have substantial plans to expand our facilities. These will include a dedicated resource hub for elders and senior artists, youth and school children to access information on historic collections gathered from institutions in Australia and overseas.
Milingimbi Art and Culture is an Indigenous-owned corporation which supports Yolŋu culture and sustainable livelihoods for artists. It is a social, cultural and economic hub for the 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 their distinctive woven, painted and carved artworks.
Ethnographic objects from Milingimbi were first acquired as early as 1912, with material culture being more systematically collected from the 1920s following the arrival of the first missionaries. By the 1960s the centre was well established as a fertile source of traditional Yolŋu art for national and international collections. Milingimbi artworks are recognised widely for their artistic integrity and cultural significance.
Milingimbi Art and Culture supports the sharing of ceremonial knowledge across generations through its programs and community partnerships.
- We value Yolŋu culture as the foundation of daily life in Milingimbi and support meaningful and sustainable work for artists and elders.
- We sell work at a fair price which acknowledges the artists’ cultural knowledge, skills and labour.
- We represent and promote our artists access to national and international markets.
- We invest in artist development and on-the-job training of our staff.
- We support traditional skills and knowledge through their everyday application at the Art Centre.
- We support living culture, document current artworks and artist stories for future generations, and hold extensive historic records that have been repatriated to the community.
- We are led by a Yolŋu board of directors and are committed to strong governance.
Our djäma (work)
The Art Centre supports artists day to day needs and long-term goals. We:
- sustainably harvest materials from Milingimbi and surrounding homelands.
- supply materials and tools for the harvest of materials and creation of artworks.
- document and archive artworks and artists’ stories. Arts workers photograph artworks, translate and transcribe artwork stories and add information to our database.
- document artistic development for the community. At the Centre community members can access images and information about their family’s artwork dating back to the 1920s.
- document artistic development for the market. The Art Centre provides information to institutions and collectors that supports the acquisition and correct documentation of artworks for major public and private collections.
- maintains strong relationships with galleries, museums and private collectors. These relationships support artists to have a reputable presence in the national and international contemporary art market.
- provide employment. The Art Centre employs six Yolŋu staff members and provides on-going training in all aspects of Art Centre operations.
- provide training with the guarantee of increased income for unemployed people. The Art Centre provides training for CDP participants. Our program links the culturally-based skills of participants with opportunities for commercial partnerships with leading Australian design companies.