sabbia gallery

Ceramics, Glass + Fibre


Susan Balbunga, SOLD - Gunga Bathi, 2022, woven pandanus spirialis with natural dyes, 290 h x 165 w x 165mm d - hanging plus string

Main Gallery and Gallery Two   7 - 22 December 2022

MILINGIMBI ART AND CULTURE – Ḻuku Gamunuŋgu: Foundations

In Yolŋu languages, Ḻuku means foot or footprint, and by extension, what is left behind by the ancestors – a legacy, a foundation. Gamunuŋgu centrally refers to clay, but also refers to paint, painting and to the making of art generally.

This dynamic collection of wood carvings, ochre paintings, and pandanus weavings created by the men and women of Milingimbi Art and Culture represents the unbroken lines of familial and ecological heritage of each artist – who they are and where they have come from, the foundations of all art created on the island.

The pigments and dyes and fibres of these works are sourced from the local environment, continuing the tradition of the ancestors.

“We learnt by looking. We sat with them. We saw them weaving and that’s why we’re sitting here. It was taught by our ancestors. 

When they passed away, we continued. That’s how it goes, a cycle.

We are many bäpurru (clans), Dhuwa and Yirritja. Kinship ties us together. I have ancestral songs and I dance. These artworks have songs too. 

This is how we live, our lifestyle, saltwater and freshwater. This is us. It is telling you about us, our identity. This is who we are. Land, sea, saltwater and freshwater. 

Whatever it is, it all comes together in gamunuŋgu.”

– Milingimbi Artists


Milingimbi Art and Culture is an Indigenous-owned, non-profit corporation which supports Yolŋu culture and sustainable livelihoods for artists on the island of Yurrwi (Milingimbi), in North East Arnhem Land. It is a social, cultural and economic hub for our community. Milingimbi Art provides income for many families living on Milingimbi and its regional homelands and supports Yolŋu from over 12 language groups.

In Yolŋu culture the land, sea, ceremony, song, Law and clan designs are inseparable. Milingimbi artists share these inter-connections through the designs, materials and stories used in our distinctive woven, painted and carved artworks.

Ethnographic objects from Milingimbi were first acquired as early as 1912, with material culture being more systematically collected from the 1920s following the arrival of the first missionaries.  By the 1960s the centre was well established as a fertile source of traditional Yolŋu art for national and international collections. Milingimbi artworks are recognised widely for their artistic integrity and cultural significance.

Milingimbi Art and Culture supports the sharing of ceremonial knowledge across generations through its programs and community partnerships.

Sabbia will be presenting a beautiful curated exhibition of new works by selected artists in fibre, sculpture & painting. This exhibition with run in conjunction with Milingimbi’s presentation at the launch of Sydney Modern at AGNSW Sydney. Further details to come