Buku-Larrnggay Mulka [Milkarri Preservation Project]
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Buku-Larrhggay Mulka Incorporated
Milkarri Preservation

Buku-Larrnggay – “the feeling on your face as it is struck by the first rays of the sun (i.e. facing East)”. Mulka – “a sacred but public ceremony.”

Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre is the Indigenous community controlled art centre of North East Arnhem Land, located in Yirrkala, a small Aboriginal community on the northeastern tip of the Top End of the Northern Territory. It has the Yirrkala Art Centre, which represents Yolŋu artists exhibiting, and selling contemporary art and The Mulka Project that acts as a digital production studio and archiving centre incorporating the museum.

The Mulka Project's objective is to sustain and protect Yolŋu cultural knowledge whilst developing employment, empowerment and cultural heritage services through modern digital means. The Nelson Meers Foundation supports their project to preserve Milkarri (female sorrow songlines). The aim for the Milkarri Preservation Project is to record and catalogue as many of the female sorrow songlines of North East Arnhem Land as possible. Over the next few years Mulka’s songline recording sessions will focus on senior women from a broad range of clans to create resources for Yolŋu women as they come of age.

Why did we fund this project?  Mulka plays a critical role in preserving the Yolngu culture for future generations, which will lead to long term social and economic benefits for the Yolngu community. Yolŋu elders have identified Milkarri as being endangered and have made it a priority in the recording programs. Female sorrow songlines are only known by a few surviving female elders and due to the decline in young females learning these songlines, it is tantamount that they are captured and preserved for the future generations of Yolŋu so this unique knowledge, language and art is not lost.