Oonyawa – from Museum back to Country


13 December 2014–28 February 2015

10am–5pm daily
Aboriginal Cultures Gallery Special Exhibition Space




Oonyawa – from Museum back to Country is a new exhibition that emerged from an artistic adventure in Wik Country.

It draws on archival cultural materials held by the South Australian Museum that were taken back into the Aurukun community. During a series of workshops and a camp near a significant storyplace or Oonyawa, Traditional Owners, Elders, artists, community members and youth were invited to engage with the present and their past in an active and creative dialogue.

Paintings, photographs, film and audio material created during this adventure explore and celebrate the intimate connection of the Wik, Wik Waya and Kugu people with their Country.

Artists featured include:

Akay Koo’oila whose joyful multi-layered colors depict an abundance of bush foods which defy our limited perceptions of an alien environment.

Mavis Ngallametta who paints vibrant intricate intersecting multi-perspectives which depict Country as viewed with the prism of multilayered lenses.

Rebecca Wolmby who demonstrates her deep knowledge of the multiple seasons of the wet tropics.

Jean Walmbeng who explores her own unique expression of Country.

Joshua Woolla who brought music and songlines to the project that seem to transfer somehow onto the canvases.



Oonyawa: from Museum Back to Country is an exhibition developed by Gina Allain, Louise Ashmore and Guy Allain and presented by the South Australian Museum.

This project has been assisted by the Western Cape Community Co-Existence Agreement, The Aurukun Shire Council, The Australian Government through the Ministry for the Arts Indigenous Cultural Support program, Hastwell and Lightfoot Vineyards and Skytrans.