Created with Sketch.
ANKA acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia. 
This website may contain images and names of people who have passed away.

Cultural Legacy Program

Creating dyes by boiling roots during a workshop as part of the Harvesting Knowledge project


‘You don’t get strong art without strong culture’. ANKA Kimberley Artists Statement

The ANKA Cultural Legacy Program recognises that caring for cultural heritage is essential to keep contemporary Aboriginal art strong.  

In the Aboriginal way art, culture, traditional Indigenous knowledge and country itself are interlinked and inseparable. 

Elders want to pass on traditional knowledge for the grand-children and for the benefit of all Australians. Art Centre based community collections (digital and object based) keep important cultural material close to family, in a living relationship. 

The ANKA Cultural Legacy Program supports Art Centres to care for their community art and cultural collections. It raises awareness about these collections and why they matter. It builds pathways for Aboriginal arts workers to extend their collection care and management skills.  

ANKA works closely with mainstream Australian art and cultural institutions to promote two way learning and care for objects and collections.  It advocates for professional recognition and pay for Indigenous traditional knowledge experts.   

ANKA produces reports, runs training, holds seminars, publishes guidelines and talks up for increased recognition and funding support for Art Centre community collections. 

Our art connects us to country. When we go out to country we practice our culture. It is through that ANKA Cultural Legacy Program that we maintain and preserve our culture and look after our traditional knowledge.
— Gabriel Nodea, Gija Elder, ANKA Director
Safe keeping makes Aboriginal people feel really strong and proud and alive. Caring for collections is a really significant role. It is important to give real jobs to Aboriginal people caring for and looking after objects in their community museums. That way they can also learn to share the knowledge and the patterns and the stories for future generations.
— Djambawa Marawili AM, Yolngu Madarrpa Clan Leader, ANKA Chairman

Harvesting Traditional Knowledge 

The Harvesting Traditional Knowledge project is a two-way learning process that tells us about Indigenous and non-Indigenous approaches to the conservation of cultural materials. In 2013-2014 it brought together Indigenous traditional knowledge masters and 26 conservators and museum professionals from leadings arts institutions across Australia for on-country learning experiences.

This ANKA Cultural Legacy Program project was a collaboration with Buku-Larrngay Mulka, Mowanjum Arts and the Grimwade Centre University of Melbourne. It included four on-country workshops in the four ANKA regions.

Many national museums and galleries have extensive collections of Australian Aboriginal cultural objects. Often, these historical objects are fragile and require conservation treatment to make sure they are kept in good condition. Historically there have not been many opportunities for remote Indigenous artists, arts workers and conservators working in cultural institutions to share their knowledge of different approaches on how some of these cultural objects are made and looked after. The Harvesting Traditional Knowledge project created an opportunity for two-way learning by bringing together Indigenous traditional knowledge masters and conservators from Australian cultural institutions to share different approaches to materials conservation.

Click here to listen to the Radio National program - Written on Bark - The Fine Art of Preserving Bark Paintings.

Click here to view the video from ANKAs Harvesting Traditional Knowledge Project at Buku Larrnggay Mulka, Yirrkala, NT.

Click here to view the video from ANKAs Harvesting Traditional Knowledge Project at Mowanjum Arts, Derby, WA.

A DVD of the project filmed by the Mulka Project, Yirrkala can be purchased from ANKA. Contact


Explore Other Projects