UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 09 Winter 18 Library
Callie Collins, Sparkles the dog and Margaret Djarrwit at Milingimbi Art and Culture. (Credit: Courtesy of Milingimbi Art and Culture)
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection

Callie Collins’ Internship in Milingimbi

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Last May, rising third-year Callie Collins traveled to the other side of the world in search of a remarkable educational and cultural opportunity. She found all of that and much more. Her two-week internship, initiated by Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, sent Collins to the remote Aboriginal island community of Milingimbi. Located off the north-coast of Australia, Milingimbi is home to approximately 1,000 Yolngu people, and is rarely visited by outsiders. Collins’ internship came at the invitation of UVA Mellon Indigenous Arts Fellows Raymond Bulambula and Mrs. Goriyindi, who undertook a 2017 residency at Kluge-Ruhe, where Collins was a curatorial intern. Little could Collins have known then that her first-ever airplane ride would land her on the other side of the world, in a place about as far, figuratively and literally, as you can get from her sweet Virginia home. Once she arrived in Milingimbi, Collins began to learn from Aboriginal elders while researching the extensive collection of artworks from the tiny island that are included in the Kluge-Ruhe collection. Collins’ visit was sponsored by the UVA Mellon Indigenous Arts museum internship program and the Office of Global Internships at UVA. Her two weeks there brought her more than new knowledge; it brought her an embrace from the local community, a new Aboriginal name (Manangurra Wumutjan Garrawurra), and a treasure trove of memories that will last a lifetime. “It was a life-changing experience,” Collins said. “My new family in Milingimbi will forever be in my heart.” 

Sabrina Roy, Callie Collins and Zelda Wurigir collecting pandanus palm for weaving.
(Photo: Courtesy of Milingimbi Art and Culture)
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