Mangkaja Arts

Mangkaja Arts is a vibrant Aboriginal owned art centre located in the township of Fitzroy Crossing, 400 kilometres east of Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It grew out of the Karrayili Adult Education Centre, with Mangkaja Arts established in 1983. Its member artists are from the differing language groups now living in the Fitzroy Valley, the Bunuba and Gooniyandi, Walmajarri and Wangkajunga.

The Challenge & How We Tackle It

Art centres face overwhelming operational workloads with insufficient resources. Managers are consumed in day to day operations and urgent priorities and needs.

Sustainability requires a circuit breaker to shift from short-term project focussed operations to improved business viability that is multi-year and ongoing.

Creative Economy provides a strategic business development service and mentoring to Managers. Creative Economy works within its Sustainability Framework to enable a strategic shift. The role of strategic business development and requires strategic thinking from a wider perspective and broader horizon to align and connect the distinctive strengths of an enterprise with other markets through partnerships and relationships.

Two years ago Mangkaja Manager, Belinda Cook had an idea to approach Gorman fashion label after seeing the outcome to Gorman Mirka Mora collaboration but wary of being exposed to cultural and commercial exploitation.

Belinda progressed the Mangkaja x Gorman from inception to completion at launch at the Darwin Fashion Show and in Sydney at the MCA. During this time Creative Economy supported Belinda in developing collaboration project, determining the commercial terms, negotiating the agreement, facilitating governance meeting at AGM for sign-off at with artists.

The Result

Mangkaja’s Belinda Cook has excelled at managing the balance of support of diverse cultural practice with new partnerships in new markets.
Mangkaja x Gorman has set the benchmark for agreements and collaboration.

The agreement with Gorman has resulted in a commercially successful range of fashion that provides returns to the Mangkaja artists and profiles their artistic works. The fashion products will fund Mangkaja’s youth development program based in Fitzroy Crossing.

Importantly, Mangkaja x Gorman increases the diversification of revenue streams to improve the sustainability of the Mangkaja.

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