Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre

Waking up the spirit

Waking up the spirit of the Country through songs, dance, art and story, by sharing and teaching young people, is what the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre does to keep their culture alive. It is the creative hub for the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunumbal people, who make up the Mowanjum community and who are united by their belief in, and custodianship of, the Wandjina as a sacred spiritual force and the creators of the land. These three groups were forcibly removed from their northern homelands in the early 1900s and now reside on Nykina country. Designed as a Wandjina when viewed from the air, the Centre houses a gallery and museum, an archive and a performance area. At the Centre, artists create artworks, produce books and merchandise, and host exhibitions and workshops to tell the story of their remarkable survival after enduring displacement from their country. Every year the Centre is host to the annual Mowanjum Festival in the July school holidays, which is one of Australia's longest running Indigenous cultural festivals. At the festival, elders continue to share their culture and history through junba – songs, with earth-pounding dances and colourful totems of spirit and story. As their reputation has grown, many people and organisations have begun repatriating materials to the Mowanjum people and they have now established Dolord Mindi (meaning deep cave) — the Mowanjum Community Collection, which includes a media space and museum. The Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre is a tribute to the resilience, creativity and passion of the community.


Gibb River Road
Derby WA 6728

Opening Hours

Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm; or book group tours by calling 08 9191 1008. Entrance fee to Museum applies.

Celebrating Wandjina

Watti Karrarrwarra was one of the first cohort of artists to depict their Wandjina as an artform. There had been great reticence by elders to do so, fearing the consequences of representing the...

Celebrating the sea eagle

“When we dance we stamp the ground waking up the spirit. The sounds of the clapsticks echo through the Country and the spirit comes up when they hear it.” Worrorra songman and leader Sam Woolagoodja...

Captain Cook and the West Kimberley

This totem represents the boat (Winjama) and sails of Captain Cook’s ship on arrival in Australia. Worrorra songman, Wattie Nerdu, dreamt and composed this junba at Old Mowanjum in 1963. Presenting...

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