Manchester Museum return 174 cultural items to Australian Aboriginal Anindilyakwa Community
The Aboriginal Anindilyakwa community of Australia’s Northern Territory is celebrating the return of 174 cultural heritage items, as part of a landmark repatriation project organised with Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester.
A handover ceremony took place on 5 September at Manchester Museum, where the cultural heritage material was formally returned to representatives of the Anindilyakwa community from Groote Eylandt – an island located approximately 50km from the north coast of mainland Australia.
One of the highlights of the collection is a group of dolls made from shells – Dadikwakwa-kwa in the Anindilyakwa language – which were traditionally painted by parents for their daughters using intricate ochre designs. The items have helped to strengthen cross-generational bonds within the community, with descendent generations now using the items to connect with their heritage, sparking a contemporary art project inspired by the traditional practices.