Banumbirr by Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi

Banumbirr by Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi

Marthakal Business Enterprises, trading as Elcho Island Arts, services over 200 Yolŋu artists based in the main community of Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, and surrounding Marthakal homelands. Yolŋu art and design are direct inheritances from ancient times. For succeeding generations, the artforms and ceremonies passed on to today’s Yolŋu people express direct links to their significant creation sites and ancestors.

The art centre has earned a strong reputation for the quality of weavings, paintings, and carvings informed by these ancestral histories. Artists pride themselves on originality of design, and knowledge of traditional bush materials including natural earth pigments, used in both traditional and contemporary artforms.

Community-operated since 1992, the art centre exists primarily to support Yolŋu artists to share their culture and derive income from their art making. The art centre assists artwork production as well as the collection, promotion, and distribution of high quality Yolŋu art and design to a range of markets in Australia and overseas. 

The art centre’s stable of artists include nationally and internationally profiled artists including renowned fibre artist Mavis Warrngilna Ganambarr, painter Peter Datjin Bararrwanga, carver Jeremiah Bonson, husband and wife carving team David Djarrka and Wendy Galanini, and senior custodian of the Banumbirr Morning Star Pole, Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi, as well as other established and emerging artists.



Marthakal Homelands Resource Centre (MHRC) incorporated in 1986 as a community initiated, owned and run Yolngu organisation that exists to support and facilitate the growth of its 29 foundational homelands.

Within this scope Marthakal is responsible for the provision of services, along with economic and social development, to the homelands that house over 500 residents across and area of 15,000 square kilometers in North East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.  This area is collectively known as the Marthakal Homelands and home to the Yolŋu people.  MHRC operates from its head office located at Galiwin’ku, on Elcho Island.

The population of Galiwin’ku is approximately 2,200 people.  Galiwin’ku is the largest community on Elcho Island, with many smaller surrounding outstations becoming inaccessible during the wet season. Many outstation residents migrate to Galiwin’ku during this period.


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Senior clan Mala (Group) representatives form the MHRC Executive to inform and direct the organisation in relation to the management of the 26 homelands within the MHRC region, and the land use interests of their individual and collective clans.  The Mala leaders meet monthly to consider and discuss the strategic approach of the organisation, including relevant policy development and executive decision making.

The Mala leaders as the executive members have delegated certain operational responsibility and authority for the Marthakal Homeland Resource Centre to the CEO and General Manager, who are supported by a strong Management Team.




Elcho Island Arts is supported by Ministry for the Arts, through their Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS)  and Indigenous Employment Initiative (IEI) programs.


Elcho Island Arts has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.



Elcho Island Arts is a signatory to the Indigenous Art Code, which aims to ensure fair dealings with artists