Issue 1
Monday, 04 March 2019
Charles Darwin University
CDU Art Gallery acting curator Kellie Joswig is preparing to open a major exhibition of Yolngu art
CDU Art Gallery acting curator Kellie Joswig is preparing to open a major exhibition of Yolngu art

Indigenous art to gain public prominence

By Andrew Hall

A new exhibition drawing from a heritage collection of significant Yolngu bark paintings, sculptural objects, hollow logs and weavings will open on 27 March at the CDU Art Gallery.

Reinvigorating the MECA Collection is a collaboration between Milingimbi Art and Culture, Bula’bula Arts and CDU’s Yolngu Studies, bringing together a stunning selection of 64 works from the Milingimbi Education and Cultural Association (MECA) Collection, created in Arnhem Land in the mid-1970s. 

This is the first time works from the MECA Collection have been on wider public display, following more than three decades in storage – held in trust for the community at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.  

CDU Art Gallery acting curator Kellie Joswig said: “We are delighted to be able to present this unique collection of Yolngu artworks, which have not been viewed in a public space.

“This project is less about the ‘curated’ exhibition, and more about reinvigorating the MECA Collection as an important cultural asset for the communities of Milingimbi and Ramingining. We hope it will inspire renewed conversations and connections within the communities and be a springboard for further projects with the MECA Collection.”

Close consultation between the CDU Art Gallery and CDU Yolngu Studies with the communities of Milingimbi and Ramingining over the past three years has reinvigorated the works in an ongoing conservation and documentation project, and enabled the development of this exhibition. 

“The CDU Yolngu Studies programs hope to get permission to incorporate the filmed documentation into their teaching, research and resources,” Ms Joswig said. 

Highlights include bark paintings that depict the important ancestral narratives of the Wagilag Sisters and the Morning Star Story, as well as other inherited and clan-based designs on hollow logs and wood sculptures, by renowned artists, distinguished clan leaders and ceremonial custodians.

Reinvigorating the MECA Collection

CDU Art Gallery,

Building Orange 12, Casuarina campus

28 March – 20 July 2019

Official opening, Wednesday 27 March at 6pm