Reinvigorating the MECA Collection

This exhibition brings together 63 works from the Milingimbi Educational and Cultural Association (MECA) Collection, created in Arnhem Land in the 1970s.  Reinvigorating the MECA Collection presents Yolŋu bark paintings, sculptural objects, hollow logs, and weavings from this important heritage collection. This exhibition is presented by CDU Art Gallery and CDU Yolŋu Studies, in collaboration with Milingimbi Art and Culture and Bula’bula Arts. Following more than three decades in storage held in trust for the community at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, this is the first public display of the MECA Collection outside Arnhem Land. Close consultation between CDU Art Gallery and CDU Yolŋu Studies with the people of Milingimbi and Ramingining over the past three years has reinvigorated the MECA Collection works in this ongoing conservation and documentation project.

This exhibition was initiated in 2016, the same year that the Milingimbi Makarrata: Bringing the Past into the Future was held. Museum representatives from around the world attended the Makarrata in Milingimbi. Makarrata traditionally is a ceremony performed to resolve disputes. The 2016 Makarrata engaged the Yolŋu community and museum representatives in discussion about improved mutual understanding of cultural collections from Milingimbi.1 Reinvigorating the MECA Collection exhibition is a first stage engagement between this cultural asset and it’s owners, the people of Milingimbi and Ramingining. Charles Darwin University anticipates that this process and exhibition will inspire conversations and connections that position the MECA Collection to become a springboard for future initiatives identified by the communities.


Milingimbi Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation

Bula’bula Arts Aboriginal Corporation

Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory


David McClay

David Morgan

Djon Mundine

Margie West


Kellie Joswig, Curator

Yasunori Hayashi, Co-ordinator CDU Yolŋu Studies

Eileen Lim, Exhibition Officer

Dr Joanna Barrkman, Project Advisor

Professor Michael Christie, Project Advisor

Carolyn McLennan, Conservator

Gary Single, Display Technician

Ben Ward, Multimedia advisor

Kaye Hall, Marketing

Waymamba Gaykamaŋu, Yolŋu Consultant

Brenda Muthamuluwuy, Yolŋu Consultant

Fiona Morrison, Photographer

Pat Josse, Multimedia Technician

1 The Milingimbi Makarrata event was part of a wider ARC Linkage Project The Legacy of 50 years Collecting at the Milingimbi Mission, conducted by Australian National University and Museums Victoria (Dr Louise Hamby, ANU and Lindy Allen, Museums Victoria, as principal researchers, with Dr Christiane Keller, ANU/National Museum of Australia). Charles Darwin University has since become a signatory to the Milingimbi Makarrata Resolution, which resolves to ‘join together in trust to find respectful ways to ensure the cultural heritage of Milingimbi is managed appropriately into the future.’


George Milaypuma

Joe Dhamanydji

Keith Lapulung

Roy Burnyila

Judy Lirririnyin

Ronnie Bulambula

Colin Yerrilil

Neville Gulaygulay

Albert Djiwada

Trevor Djarrugaykay

Bruce Wulawula

Philip Gudthaykudthay

Otto Campion

Solomon O’Ryan

Ronnie Garrawurra

Peter Dalparri

Robyn Malibirr

Dorothy Djukulul

Peggy Rankin

Roslyn MirrMirr

Joannae Milindjit

Margaret Milingarr

Lynette Birriran

Peter Djigirr

Anita Ganbunganbu

Albert Junior Waninymarr

Nita Lilipiyana

Bobby Bunungurr

Peter Gekirri

Jenny Malabirr

Jennifer Djenana