Matriarchs: Motherlines of the Yolgnu and Tiwi Islands
With Will Stubbs, Co-ordinator Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre and Nongirrnga Marawili, artist
Exhibition dates: 15 November to 15 December 2018
Artists: Kaye Brown, Raelene Kerinauia, Banduk Marika, Nongirrnga Marawili, Liawaday Marawili, Marrnyula Munungurr, Mulkun Wirrpanda, Mrs Wirrpanda (Galuma Maymuru) and Michelle Woody Minnapinni
Presented with: Buku Art Centre and Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association, Milikapiti Community (Snake Bay), Melville Island, NT
Matriarchs: Motherlines of the Yolgnu and Tiwi Islands, brings together generations of artists committed to keeping Yolgnu and Tiwi law and culture strong. The exhibition considers their work from the perspective of a feminist genealogy tracing matriarchal and collegiate relationships.
Elders can be comparatively young in a biological sense, as the focus is on life stages and relative degrees of maturity, rather than on chronological age (Morphy, 2004). Cultural knowledge and helping children understand the practical aspects of life, society and culture as well leadership abilities and decision making on behalf of the community are valued. Most of the exhibiting artists also teach or also do ranger work, for example, Nongirrnga Marawili is a senior advisor to children at Yirrkala school, Banduk Marika has served on the Boards of the National Gallery and Australia Council and Michelle Woody Minnapinni is the current chair of Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association which includes the Muluwurri Museum (established in 1988), a collection held in trust for the Milikapiti community.
In the late 1970s and 1980s across the Aboriginal art world radical changes made obsolete the divisive categories of urban versus traditional, or innovative versus static. This included founding artist-run art centres and ANKAAA in Darwin, now known as ANKA and Desart.