Art Centres are an integral part of each community

The art centres visited on an Aboriginal Art Connections experience are all aboriginal owned and operated, ensuring that all proceeds from the sale of art works provide a direct benefit to the artists and the communities.

These centres are an integral part of each community, providing the means for local artists to have their work distributed to galleries and collectors world wide. Many are also an artistic hub in the community, with artists sharing ochres, tools and resources, or just coming together socially.

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Buku Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala :

The Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre and Museum is in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community on the north-eastern tip of the Top End of the Northern Territory, approximately 700kms East of Darwin. This part of Australia is very special. The coastline and hinterland are largely unspoilt and still managed by the traditional owners, the Yolngu (Aboriginal people of the region between Numbulwar and Maningrida).

Buku-Larrnggay means the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun - indicating that you are in the most easterly place in the Top End of Australia - Miwatj or the Sunrise country. Mulka is a sacred but public ceremony. It also means to hold or protect. Thus we are the Northeast Arnhem Land cultural centre and keeping place. The artists of the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre have established a worldwide reputation for excellence, having won many of Australia's major Indigenous art prizes.

The Yolngu people are all capable of expressing their sacred identity through art and the artists who work through the Centre are men and women of all ages. The art and craft of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka is drawn from Yirrkala and the approximately 25 homeland centres within a radius of 250km - the geographical area is known as the Miwatj region

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka features beautiful memorial poles, small carvings, weavings, jewellery and bark paintings. The Centre is also a premier source of authentic yidaki (didjeridus).


Buku-Larrnggay Mulka carries a diverse range of products including natural ochre paintings on bark, memorial poles, and statuary. The elders see the act of painting for the outside world as requiring the same discipline as for making sacred designs in ceremony. Accordingly when painting the land they use the land. All painting is done on bark using locally collected earth pigments and a brush fashioned from a few strands of hair. Over the last decade Yirrkala has become renowned both for its monumental bark paintings and its painted memorial poles that have been placed in public and private collections throughout the world.

Larrakitj - Memorial Poles

Traditional Yolngu funeral ceremony involves several stages, the final including the storage of bones in a hollow log coffin painted with elaborate designs belonging to clans important to the deceased. This tradition lives on in some of the finest and most dramatic artwork available in Arnhem Land - Larrakitj, or memorial poles.


Buku-Larrnggay Mulka is perhaps the only art centre to establish on site a dedicated and highly productive limited edition print workshop which is staffed by indigenous print makers who work with the artists. In the last seven years the Centre has produced a wide range of linocuts, screen prints, etchings, lithographs, and collographs. There have been approximately 250 small editions (averaging from 15-35) of which 200 have sold out. Many of the artists who have prepared art works for printing are older women and their prints are utterly delightful

Weaving and Fibrecraft

The age old practice of weaving bags, baskets and mats from the leaves of the Pandanus and the bark of the Kurrajong continues today. Producing the magnificent weavings is labour intensive and involves a number of steps. This is almost always done by women in groups. Men do weave ceremonial or sacred objects but these are not for sale.

The Artists

The Yolngu people are all capable of expressing their sacred identity through art and the artists who work through the Centre are men and women of all ages. The art and craft of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka is drawn from Yirrkala and the approximately 25 homeland centres within a radius of 250km - the geographical area is known as the Miwatj region.

Although Buku-Larrnggay Mulka has a heavy exhibitions program, on a visit you can still expect to see for sale works by known artists or their relatives.

The Art Centre

The art centre is centrally located in Yirrkala community opposite the community store. The old hospital or clinic in which many of the artists had been born was converted to become the original craft shop and over the years there have been a number of additions and renovations. The current centre is an impressive and very functional building belying its humble beginnings. It is comprised of a number of pavilions housing the multifarious functions of an art centre. The additions include: a Museum (1988); screen print workshop and extra gallery spaces (1996); and Yirrkala Church Panels annexe (1998). A theatrette and multi-media centre is under construction and due for completion in 2007.

Images and copy courtesy of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka


Featured Art Tour

This year we have designed a comprehensive tour of Arnhem Land, focusing not only on the art centres, but we have also included immersive environmental events. A spectacular time of year, after the wet season has abated, the drier air ensures comfort whilst the land is still lush and green.

The customised trip will give you the opportunity to walk around the community environs and engage with the local residents. In particular you will meet the artists, often the artist’s family and certainly the arts workers. On occasion we havebeen offered spontaneous invitations to visit the artist’s homes and camps, the chance to visit the local school, learn more about medicinal botany, Yolngu law, interpret rock art or do some night fishing. Overall the style and pace of the trip is to give those interested in Top End Indigenous Australian art and culture an opportunity to fulfil their curiosity in a real time way.

Make no mistake; this trip cannot be achieved without the expertise of the Aboriginal Art Connections team with many years of collective experience and enthusiasm for Northern Australia. Wewill provide a comfortable trip and an extraordinary experience.

The service you can expect from the team at Aboriginal Art Connections is exemplary. Please be aware that accessing these remote communities in Arnhem land is restricted, so we make all the applications on your behalf to clear entry, prepare your lodgings, ensure meals are hearty and fulfilling, down to the fragrant fresh coffee for morning and afternoon tea always in a scenic let’s just stop and take it in location.

As your accompanying indigenous art specialist I am on board to facilitate your growing knowledge of the art forms of the region, such the stylistic shifts from eastern to western Arnhem land, to introducing specific artists work to you, and being that calm third party when required to help you make decisions with confidence when on the ground.

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22.5.16  7 Day Tiwi Island and Arnhem Land Tour hosted by Vivien Anderson.  Read more

1.9.16  Cape York Art Centre Tour - This tour is still in development. We will take you to the best art centres Cape York has to offer. This tour will be led by Vivien Anderson.  Read more