In early September 2018 Milingimbi artists Helen Ganalmirriwuy and Ruth Nalmakarra will travel to Europe at the invitation of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel. In Europe the artists will work with museum staff, exhibit their artwork and deliver public workshops and presentations. Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra will be accompanied by Milingimbi Art and Culture coordinator, Rosita Holmes and anthropologist, Louise Hamby.

The invitation to travel to the Museum came as a result of the Makaratta held in Yurrwi (Milingimbi) in 2016. During this event representatives from national and international collecting institutions were invited to Yurrwi to recognise collecting processes from the past and to develop respectful ways of working together in the present.  

The majority of Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra’s time in Europe will be spent at the Museum der Kulturen. The Museum der Kulturen holds over 200 artworks and objects collected from Yurrwi in the 1920’s to 1960’s . Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra will work with museum staff to build on the knowledge of their Ngapipi (mothers brother) Dr Joe Gumbula. Dr Gumbula worked with the Yurrwi collection at the Museum der Kulturen in 2007 and is renowned for his contribution of deep knowledge to collections held by many Australian and international institutions.

Dr Gumbula and others have set the path for artists and knowledgeable elders to contribute valuable and otherwise unknown information to the vast museum collections containing works from Yurrwi. Due to Yurrwi’s history as the location of the first mission in East Arnhem Land and thus one of the major collecting sites of Aboriginal Australian artworks and objects during the 20th Century it is imperative to our future understanding that Yurrwi artists and knowledgeable elders of today are engaged and supported to share their deep knowledge attached to these objects and artworks. Currently, knowledge related to works held in museum collections is recorded as part of the everyday Djäma (work) at the art centre as well as off-site at the invitation of partner organisations by Milingimbi Art and Culture staff and artists. 

Culture is not only recorded in Yurrwi but is practiced everyday through rituals, ceremonies and art making. Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra will reflect on their fibre practice as part of a continuum between past and present during a public workshop at the Museum on Saturday the 8th of September. The workshop will be opened with the viewing of a short documentary, narrated by Ganalmirriwuy and with Manikay (song) by Wilson Manydjarri. This film shares the processes of harvesting, dying and weaving as well as provides an insight into weaving in the Yolngu realm of songline, totem and sacred object.  

During this workshop the artist’s will share their skills as master fibre workers as well as their knowledge of natural fibres and dyes. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Gunga (pandanus) and Balgurr (kurrajong) fibres that have been harvested, prepared and dyed by the artists. The workshop will also include a presentation by Dr Beatrice Voirol about specific fibre pieces held in the Museum der Kulturen’s collection.

In Genéva, at the Ethnographic Museum de Genéva, Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra will meet with museum staff to discuss the significance of fibre in the life of Yolngu in the past and present. Here they will also work with the museum’s collection.   

The artists recent collaborations with designers at Koskela designs and Manapan Furniture will be the topic of discussion during a presentation to students at the University of Applied Science, Basel.

On the 13th of September the artists will attend the preview of a combined exhibition with Maningrida Arts at ArtKelch, Freiburg, Germany. The distinctive Mul Mindirr (black twined basket) of Helen Ganalmirriwuy and her sister Margaret Rarru will be featured.

Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra’s process of dyeing and making artworks from plant fibres, roots and leaves harvested by hand from Yurrwi and the surrounding Crocodile Islands will be explored and compared with natural dye processes of Paris based artisan Aurélia Wolff. During this event pâtissier chef Jennifer Hart-Smith of Tookies, Gambetta will also share her passion for working with natural ingredients. Participants will have an opportunity to try foods prepared by Jennifer using native Australian ingredients.  

Ganalmirriwuy and Nalmakarra look forward visiting the artworks and objects created be their ancestors and adding their knowledge to the museums records as well as returning home with photos to add to their communities digital collection to be shared with their family in Yurrwi. It will also be a great honour to make connections and work with museum staff, designers, artists, gallerists and general public in Basel, Genéva, Freiburg and Paris.  


For more information regarding specific events please refer to below links

Public workshop and presentation @ the Museum der Kulturen, Basel
Workshop für Erwachsene  – FLECHT-SCHMUCK AUS AUSTRALIEN – 8. September 2018, 11.00 – 16.00

Public collaborative workshop @ WHOLE studio, Paris
Information and tickets available here
14th September 2018, 10.00 – 14.00
WHOLE, Paris
Aurèlia Wolff @ WHOLE, Paris
Jennifer Hart-Smith @Tookies, Gambetta


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 FoundationsChau 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

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P: (+61) 8987 9888

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