ABORIGINAL ART & CULTURE

Joe Dhamanydji: Chairman Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre

Joe Dhamanydji is a guardian of cultural knowledge, not all of this knowledge can be shared with non-Aboriginal people, and a proud Chairman of the Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre.

“The law tells us what we are allowed to paint, we do not want to paint other clans paintings. We might get into big trouble”

Joe’s father, the highly respected Tom Djawa, an artist and cultural leader, travelled the 3,000 kilometres or so from Milingimbi in the Northern Territory to Toowoomba, Queensland in 1954 to dance for Queen Elizabeth II during her Royal visit to Australia in that year. In July 2011 Joe and his brothers George Milaypuma and Michael Mungala, in total a group of 20 Yolngu performers and artists, travelled to Toowoomba to dance once more where Tom Djawa had danced.

Joe says: “we use traditional ochres and white clay on the barks and yidaki just as our ancestors did”.

The Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre is located on the island of the same name and in the local language it is called Yurrwi. Milingimbi is located off the north coast of Arnhem Land some 400 kilometres to the east of Darwin. The Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre’s artists create paintings on bark and canvas, sculptures and fibre art, informed by the deep cultures of the region. The diverse culture of the region has been influenced by its proximity to Indonesia and particularly because of a long history of contact with traders from Sulawesi.

Joe says: “The law tells us what we are allowed to paint, we do not want to paint other clans paintings. We might get into big trouble”.

Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre Manager Zanette Kahler and Chairman Joe Dhamanydji

Here is the link to the Milingimbi Art and Culture Centre Facebook page.

SUBJECT: Aboriginal art and culture / Arnhem Land / Yolngu / Keeping culture / Milingimbi