Anindilyakwa Arts and Cultural Centre - Art Collector

Murabuda Wurramarrba, Magpie Geese {Yingakiya} & Brolga {Dukwururrkwa} story, 91 x 61cm. Courtesy: the artists and Anindilyakwa Arts and Cultural Centre, Northern Territory

The Warnindilyakwa people of the Groote Eylandt archipelago are a culturally distinct group who communicate ancient traditions, cross cultural encounters and contemporary stories through art, dance and song. Through the Anindilyakwa Arts and Cultural Centre, they have opened up their traditional country and culture.

The current centre first opened in 2008 with the aim to achieve cultural retention and transmission of stories and art styles unique to the Groote Eylandt archipelago. The centre’s artists are the Anindilyakwa speakers from across the archipelago, which consists of around 100 islands, the largest of which is Groote Eylandt.

Many artists have adopted a contemporary art style that is influenced by new technologies and techniques, though the content is still profoundly insightful of their culture. The detailed patterning (dashes and some cross hatching) still used is transferred and owned in the same way that totems are owned and shared by clan groups.

Present day paintings from Groote Eylandt display a broader range of colours in addition to ochre. Characterised by their narrative and graphical qualities, the paintings reveal ancestral creation stories, totemic animals, wind totems, mapping and historical events, in particular their interaction with Macassan traders who featured in all aspects of Aboriginal life including ceremony, trade, language and imagery.

The maintenance of cultural identity is important for the Anindilyakwa speakers of the Groote Archipelago. The Anindilyakwa Services Aboriginal Corporation (ASAC) is the organisation charged with the responsibility of keeping culture strong. ASAC is responsible for the future development of the art centre and other culturally significant activities.

Joaz Warramurra, Co-CEO of ASAC, is a prominent artist who has watched fellow artists change from using the distinctive dash and colours to other marks and imagery. “I would like to see the artists be proud of their tradition and learn our very distinct use of dash and ochre colours,” he says. “We have a different way to understand our totems and dreaming from the past and the young ones first have to understand that way. To showcase that makes us all feel that this is still right for us.”

The centre sells a range of items including paintings, woven baskets and mats, didgeridoos and traditional carvings, jewellery made from shells and seeds endemic to the region.

Current artists

  • M.Wurramarrba
  • Alfred Lalara
  • Alice Durilla
  • Felicity Wanambi
  • J. Wurramara
  • Sandra Lalara
  • Betty Mirnoyowan
  • Gayangwa Lalara
  • Gwen Laalara

Access information

Groote Eylandt is situated in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Daily return flights are available from Groote Eylandt and Cairns. Accommodation is available at the Groote Eylandt Beach Resort Alyangula. The centre is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm or by appointment.

Anindilyakwa Arts and Cultural Centre
1 Bougainvillea Drive
Alyangula NT 0885

08 8987 6266
08 8987 6275