Senior Artist / Director / Art Worker
Raymond Bulambula was born in Milingimbi and raised at Rapuma Island, his mother’s country, to the east. His father Djimbun was very old when Raymond was growing up and he was raised primarily by his four mothers and maternal uncle. When he was a young man, Raymond set off to his country and father’s country at Langarra Island and learned his sacred stories from his father’s nephews.
Raymond makes art from three tribes, the Burrnumbirr (morning star) belongs to his mothers side (Gurryindi), he also makes the Burrnumbirr from Mallarra side (grandson for Gurriyindi tribe). Most of his painting work comes from the Mandjikay, Wobulkarra side which belongs to Langarra. He paints mainly Latjin (mangrove worm and tree), Monuk Gapu (dirty salt and fresh water with bubles) which flows to from the creek to the sea and the Warraka (cycad) amongst others.
Image: Creative Cowboy Films
Senior Artist / Master Weaver
Margaret Rarru Garrawurra was born in the 1940’s in far north Arnhem Land into the Liyagawumirr people. She is one of a strong group of sisters of the renowned painter’s Mickey Durrng and Tony Dhanyala Garrawurra. Rarru’s artwork has been acquired by many galleries and museums including Queensland Art Gallery and features prominantly in the National Gallery of Victoria Collection.
In 2007 Rarru won the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award bark painting category, for her work Ngarra Body Paint Design, a subtle abstract of vertical triangles and circular waterholes on an irregularly shaped bark. Rarru lives with her family on her mothers country Langarra (Howard Island), off the coast of Arnhem Land, and at Yurrwi (Milingimbi Island). She is widely considered to be one of Australia’s most influential master weavers.
Wilson Ganambarr Manydjarri
Wilson was born in the bush at Gulnga, close to Arnhem Bay. He was taken to Yirrkala by his father as a young boy and was chosen to take over ceremonial obligations for the Datiwuy people as a young man. He has lived at Elcho Island and now resides at Milingimbi where he previously worked in the art centre as the boss for traditional materials harvesting. He is an extremely knowledgeable and powerful song man who paints intricate designs from both his mother and father’s estates.
Wilson has made art works for Buku Larrngay Mulka Art Centre and Elcho Island Art and Craft in the past and has travelled overseas to perform.
Senior Artist / Master Weaver
Helen Ganalmirriwuy was born in Milingimbi and grew up on her mothers homeland at Langarra (Howard Island). She has seven fathers from Garriyak which is on the mainland south of Galiwin’ku. Helen has been weaving since she was a young girl and was taught painting by her family during the Ngarra (cleansing ceremony) during which clan designs are painted onto the body. Ganalmirriwuy is a master weaver who works daily with her sister, Margaret Rarru on a diverse range of weaving designs such as Bathi Mul (black dilly bags), Pandanus mats, bags, baskets and and a variety of Balurr (bush string) works that exemplify her diverse knotting and weaving knowledge. Ganalmirriwuy’s work is characterised by its fine quality and striking dye patterns.
The three colours used for art production by the Liyagawumirr / Garrawurra clan are associated with Dj’ankawu sisters who travelled through North East Arnhem Land creating spring water, country, languages, tribes and culture amongst Yolgnu people. Ganalmirriwuy often paints the Bowarta (bush turkey) body paint design which signifies seniority in Liyagawumirr / Garrawurra ceremonial practice. It is best described as a ‘key hole’ design of yellow and red on a white background.
Artist / Weaver / Director
The name Milminydjarrk describes the sacred waterholes made by the Djankawu sisters as the punched their Dhorna in to the land at Garriyak. Helen’s grandfather Birriguy was a strong law man who taught his grandchildren ceremony and stories. After the death of her older brothers, Helen and her sisters have begun to paint designs associated with the Djankawu sisters.
Helen has been a teacher at Langarra Homeland at the school and has always engaged in teaching and passing traditional knowledge to younger generations. She currently works as an artist and as a supervisor for community employment programs.
Artist / Art Worker
Son of senior artists Lily Roy and Roy Rewa. Jack continues to paint and carve his Malarra clan designs. This includes Jack’s totem the Larratitja (barracuda).
Jack is one of the few remaining speakers of the Yan-nhangu language and features alongside his family in the highly acclaimed documentary film Big Boss: The Last Leader of the Crocodile Islands.
As well as being an artist Jack is an art worker at Milingimbi Art Centre. Jack’s main roles include material harvesting and cultural liaison.
Ruth was born in Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island), and grew up there until moving to Milingimbi in the late 1960’s. She has seven fathers from Garriyak which is on the mainland south of Galiwin’ku and sometimes lives and Langarra (Howard Island), her mother’s homeland. She has been weaving since she was a young girl. Ruth was taught painting by her family during the Ngarra cleansing ceremony time in which clan designs are used as body paint. Nalmakarra worked at the Milingimbi Art Centre as an assistant manager (2005-9) and also sat on the board. She has been an ANKA board member since 2007.
The three colours used for art production by the Liyagawumirr/ Garrawurra clan are associated with Dj’ankawu sisters who travelled through North East Arnhem Land creating spring water, country, languages, tribes and culture amongst Yolgnu people.
Image: Creative Cowboy Films
At the age of 12 Judy Lirririnyin sat with her father, renown artist Binyinyuwuy. She describes this as an important time in her life. “Yaka (no) playing around him. He was doing his painting to concentrate his mind. I was watching his hand moving down, going sideways – he was really tricky (clever). I was also watching my mother and grandmother doing weaving, making bathi and mat. So I learnt to sit quiet and to work carefully. Today I sit here with my painting, my brother in-law (brother) joins me, he sings the manikay for my painting, sometimes we are telling each other story for that painting and we cry.” Lirririnyin beams with pride as she speaks of her father and her mission to honour him and to continue sharing his memory and strength with her grandchildren.
Lirririnyin began painting her clan designs in 2016 after being inspired by the retrospective exhibition Art from Milingimbi: taking memories back, Art Gallery New South Wales. In 1993 Lirririnyin began working as a health worker, today she continues to work as part of the Strong Womens Program at the Milingimbi clinic.
George Milaypuma was inspired to share his culture through artwork firstly by watching his father, Gupapuyngu leader, Djawa. Djawa lead all aspects of the Milingimbi Community in the 1950’s including the highly respected and productive group of artist’s whose work was quickly collected by national and international institutions and collectors. Milaypuma says, ‘It is important to follow my fathers footsteps… our culture has been here for a long time and we need it to keep going.’ Djawa painted the complexities of Gupapuyngu law and ceremony with ochre on eucalyptus bark however it is Djawa’s stories of Mokuy Murayana that captured Milaypuma’s imagination.
Mokuy are ancestral beings that often feature in stories about the creation of Country, law and ceremony. Mokuy Murayana is a specific figure that is known for his lust for the most beautiful sounding yidaki (didgeridoo).
Milaypuma explains that he ‘went another way’ to his father, meaning that he does not paint onto bark but carves the Mokuy figures. These are made from cottonwood and are painted with ochre, their chests are decorated with Gupapuyngu clan designs. These are the same designs that Djawa painted onto the surface of bark and that all Gupapuyngu men, past and present, paint onto the chest of young boys during ceremony. These designs are inseparable from Gupapuyngu manikay (song) and bunggul (dance).
It is important to Milaypuma that his clan designs and law continue to capture the imagination of children as they grow and become adults. Milaypuma makes his work at home but is excited that all the djamarrkuli (children) get to see his work and remember the story for Mokuy Murayana when they visit the art centre.
As well as being an artist Milaypuma worked for the Crocodile Rangers as a Cultural Adviser since 2013.
Artist / Art Worker
Rosetta Wayatja is an emerging artist and committed Art worker at Milingimbi Art Centre. Rosetta begun work at the art centre in 2012.
From a young age Rosetta sat with her mother, Joyce Naliyabu, and her mother’s sister, Emma Gundurrabuy, whilst they weaved, this is how Rosetta leant how to harvest, dye and weave pandanus into beautiful objects.
Keith is from a tribal country called Garrata which belongs to the Djambarrpuyngu people in the interior of Buckingham Bay at the Gurala estate. Garrata is the site of the Bulmandji (shark) dreaming. Keith also paints stories associated with the Stone Dreaming (Gunda) called Burruwa which is only visible during low tide. Burruwa is the dwelling place of the two serpents known as Nyapili (common king brown snake) which belongs to that area. These themes are prevalent in Lapulung’s work along side the Gara (spear) mitji (design). Lapulung is also authorised to paint ceremonial designs such as the Burrutji (rainbow snake) belonging to the Yirriitja moiety Birrkili Gupapuyngu people, his mothers clan. He is theDjungkaya (custodian).
Keith is also a musician and founding member of the ‘Wirrinyga Band’ who continue to play at festivals and events nation wide after over thirty years. He is the Chairman of the Milingimbi Alpa store committee, Gatjirrk Festival Committee and Chairperson for the East Arnhem Shire, Local Authority.
Alfred Walpay is a Gupapuyngu man and artist known for his knowledge and playful use of materials. He lives and creates his artwork on his mothers Homeland of Bodiya on the island of Milingimbi. Walpay uses all natural materials harvested on Milingimbi and nearby islands to create sculptural works. These works express his Yolngu culture and relationship to Clan country and animals. Materials include; sledge grass, pandanus, balgurr, kakadu plum sap, cottonwood, feathers and natural pigments.
Matay was sitting beside her father Binyiyuwuy and watching him paint as a young girl. ‘I was watching him and helping him with his Gnurrungitj, Gamanungku, Miku, Mul, Buthalak (black, white, red, and yellow ochre); and changing his water and mixing his Djalkurrk (bush glue). I learned from him, watching his hands, watching him make brushes from dharpa (bark and wood) for background painting and he cut my hair for his fine brush.’
Margaret proudly continues to paint her father’s designs that include ‘Rain on the Trees’ and the Banumbirr (morning star) .
Senior Artist / Chairperson / Art Worker
Dhamanydji is the youngest son of renowned artist and cultural leader Tom Djawa. He grew up in Milingimbi and has been painting since he was at school in the mission time. He was taught to paint his dreamings by his older brother. Joe makes works associated with the Buralla (Diving Duck), Yangurra (turtle), Gunatdarra (heron), Munbirri (catfish), Lumba-lumba (emu), Yuka (crab), Min- mindjark (water hole), Djanda/ Bininmirr (water goanna) and Djalunbu (hollow log coffin). He also paints designs associated with the Dja’nkawu Sisters from his mothers side.
Yatany is the the oldest son of senior Wobulkara man, Timothy Milingimbili and weaver Emma Gundurrupuy. He has been schooled in Wobulkara clan designs by his father and father’s brother, Raymond Bulambula.
Zelda was born in 1963 and grew up in her mothers Homeland of Yilan. Living in the bush she learnt the bush ways from her old people. At the age of 9 she started to make her own weavings.
Zelda’s weavings are made with mastered skill and can be distinguished by a course or chunky aesthetic that is often associated with the clans whose Homelands lie to the east of Yirrwu, towards Yilan. As well as making her known bathi (baskets and dilly bags), fish traps and mats Zelda has been working on large scale weaving projects with the art centre in partnership with Koskela designs since early 2017.
Zelda moved to Bodiya on the island of Yurrwi (Milingimbi) many years ago when she married her husband. Today, as well as being an artist, she is a grandmother and highly skilled teacher that works with the art centre and Crocodile Rangers.
Abigail Mundjala is learning to weave from master weavers Helen Gannalmirriwuy, and Margaret Rarru and art worker Joyce Naliyabu.
Abigail explains that; “first I was watching Rarru and Gannalmirriwuy collecting gunga and colour (used in weaving). They picked me and showed me how to get gunga and make colour. Sometimes I use black weaving, and white, yellow and red. First I learned (to weave with) balgurr and second weaving with gunga (pandanus). My husband Wilson Manydjarri shows me how to make paintings, I watched him make larrakitj (hollow log) and bark and I am learning that painting. I practice rrark (cross hatching), use bul’manydji (shark), that bul’manydji is my ngama (mother), and goanna is my waku (son).”
Abigail was born in 1978 and has lived in Yurrwi (Milingimbi) all of her life. Today she lives with her husband, their children and extended family.
Debbie Wuduwawuy has a strong passion for weaving. Her big smile can be found at the art centre on most days. Debbie originally learnt to weave by watching her mothers (mother and mothers sisters). She would follow them to collect gunka ga colour (pandanus as well as roots and leaves used to dye the pandanus different colours). Debbie remembers making her first weaving, a large table mat. Since then she has woven hundreds of different items.
Debbie is a natural innovator and is always looking for new materials and techniques to try in her weaving. Recently Debbie made a series of “kooky” earrings that combine a variety of shells and seeds with pandanus and balgurr into original forms. For Debbie weaving forms the basis of her art practice however is also a craft that she uses for ceremonial and everyday life. Hanging from the rafter of Debbies verandah is a large bathi (dilly bag) made from sedge grass (a native grass that withstands being immersed in salt water) used for preparing stringray.
Debbie has also worked on large scale weavings with Koskela designs since early 2017.
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.
A: Lot 53 Gadupu Rd, Milingimbi via Winellie, NT 0822
P: (+61) 8987 9888
E: [email protected]
Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website may contain images and voices of deceased persons.
© Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation