Anindilyakwa Cultural Item Handover Ceremony
05 September 2023
Manchester Museum | Manchester UK
The incredibly moving handover ceremony of 174 cultural items, held at Manchester Museum, to Anindilyakwa community members was a significant and emotional moment for all who attended, and Wanindilyakwa family back on Groote Eylandt. During the formalities, Danjibana Noeleen Lalara, accompanied by Maicie Lalara and Amethea Mamarika, addressed the crowd, sharing the origins of the collection and what it means for these items to be returned.
The handover officially signified the end of a years’ long process that bought so much pride and strength to Anindilyakwa Arts and the wider community. In recognition of Manchester Museum’s support, the art centre gifted a suite of twelve new-ways Dadikwakwa-kwa to the Museum. Smoked and given whispered directions by the women before leaving Australian shores, these doll shells will take the place of the returning items, keeping our connection strong with our friends in Manchester.
“Emotionally, [this is] hurting me now… [but] I am so proud that we are taking them back home … it’s been a long journey… I’m happy and proud for my people.”
- Danjibana Noeleen Lalara, Anindilyakwa Arts Lead Art and Culture Officer, Artist and Elder
The return of the 174 cultural items will be finalized in November 2023 with the arrival of the freighted material from the UK. Greeted in Darwin by senior Anindilyakwa men, the community will welcome home the items with an on-Country celebration a few weeks later. The majority of the items (unrestricted) will be cared for by Anindilyakwa Arts as custodian of the Groote Eylandt Community Collection.
Watch the ceremony here: