Wik & Kugu Arts Centre


Wik and Kugu

Located in the remote community of Aurukun on the west coast of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, Wik & Kugu Arts Centre is a community-owned and governed social enterprise hosted by the Aurukun Shire Council. The Centre services the five Clans who live in Aurukun and exists to celebrate and encourage contemporary cultural expression through the arts. The Centre’s primary function is the commercial production of fine art that provides sustainable cultural and economic opportunities for over 30 established and emerging artists. Aurukun’s visual art embodies Ancestral narratives that support and maintain spiritual and historical connections to Country. The cultural precinct of Wik & Kugu includes a men’s workshop, a women’s painting studio and a small gallery space.

Across the Wik & Kugu region, the practice of creating objects for ritual ceremonies dates back to the beginning of time. In recent years, art market developments have allowed these ceremonial practices to be given a new contemporary context. In the 1970s, and thanks to an initiative by the State Government, an art and craft market for remote Queensland Indigenous communities sprang to life. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that Aurukun started to produce its visual art commercially. Since then, the production of art in the community has flourished into an innovative cultural movement enabling Wik & Kugu people to reassert their ties to Country and solidify their place in the contemporary art world.

Held in September 2022, Aak Puul: Art from the Wik & Kugu Region showcased paintings and sculpture from artists Bruce Bell, Bevan Namponan, David Marpoondin, Devena Wikmunea, Janet Koongotema, Keith Wikmunea, Leigh Namponan, Leo Namponan, Lex Namponan and Roderick Yunkaporta of Wik and Kugu Arts Centre.

"Aak Puul" refers to one's Tribal Country or Homeland. It’s a term that specifically relates to a person’s father's Country, and his father’s before him. Aurukun’s visual art is intrinsically tied to Aak Puul which finds its expression in an ancient performative cultural tradition of song & dance.