Margaret Rarru

(Australia 29 Jan 1940 – )

Milingimbi, Arnhem region
Language group
Liya-gawumirr, Arnhem region, Garrawurra, Arnhem region

Dhomala (Macassan sail)

Not on display
Further information

Margaret Rarru is a senior artist, master weaver, and respected Elder and knowledge holder. She was born in far north eastern Arnhem Land at Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island) in 1940, and today lives off the coast between her mother’s Country of Laŋarra (Howard Island) and Yurrwi (Milingimbi Island).

Rarru is one of the most senior artists working through Milingimbi Art and Culture. She was taught to weave by her numa (aunties) when she was a young teenager at Galiwin’ku. While her ancestors have made bathi (dilly bags) for ceremonial and everyday use for centuries, it was the balanda (white) ladies, or missionaries, that taught Rarru and her aunties how to make coil baskets, and establish a space where they could make their weavings, sell them, and receive payment in return. Rarru is widely recognised for her innovative weavings of baskets, wearable pieces, and minimalist black dilly bags.

Rarru is also well known for her paintings on bark and hollow logs that document her father’s Country, and the stories of her clan. In 2007, she won the bark painting award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards.

Place of origin
Milingimbi, Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Cultural origin
Garrawura/Liya-gawumirr/ East Arnhem Land region
pandanus and kurrajong
171.0 x 118.0 cm (irreg.)
Purchased with funds provided by the Aboriginal Collection Benefactors' Group 2019
Accession number
© Margaret Rarru