Our name, Maruku, literally means “belonging to black”. This is because Maruku is owned and operated by Anangu (Aboriginal people from the Western and Central Deserts of Australia). For over 30 years Maruku has operated as a not-for-profit art and craft corporation.
Our logo is ‘tali’ design. ‘Tali’ means sand dunes. You will see this pattern describing country is significant throughout our artists’ art and woodcarvings. The desert, this sand dune country is what they call home.
Approximately 900 Anangu artists make up the collective that is Maruku. Our purpose is to keep culture strong and alive, for future generations of artists and make culture accessible in an authentic way to those that seek a more in-depth understanding. We also provide an important form of income to artists living in remote communities across Anangu lands.
Maruku today is one of the largest and most successful indigenous owned and operated organisations. Currently, Maruku comprises of a warehouse based in Mutitjulu community, a retail gallery at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre, as well as a market stall in the town square of Yulara. Our main stocks are paintings and punu (wooden carvings). Additional to the retail arm, Maruku offers tours, workshops, demonstrations, traditional ceremonies and exhibitions.
In 1981 one of the first informal tent exhibitions was held at the base of Uluru when artists from Amata packed everything in a convoy of cars and trucks and travelled over to sell their work. Later in the 1980’s a series of traditional shades were built near the site of the current ranger station called Punu Ngura (home or place of wood), closer to the base of Uluru. This became the selling point for artists of that Maruku collective and a place where they could demonstrate the making of punu (wood sculptures) so visitors could learn about Anangu culture. This was Maruku’s beginning. We are proud to say that – still – today, Maruku is conducting regular bush trips to collect punu and bring it back for sale at Uluru.