Our Art Centre, Words by Annabell Amagula

Weaving Old & New

It started from the old ways, weaving, making baskets with Pandanus.

We do the new ways now with some ghost net and some fabrics.

Some bush dyed, some fabric from India, some from the op shop too.

The rangers collect all the ghost net from the ocean to save the fish and crab, and turtle. Our bush tucker.

Lots of young ones and old ladies weaving now with ghost net.

Sometimes we make the baskets with ghost net, fabric and pandanus together, shows the old ways and new ways as one.

Weaving with ghost net & bush dyed textiles
Weaving with ghost net & bush dyed textiles
Dyed pandanus drying at the art centre
Chopping down pandanus for weaving

Colours of Country

When we bush dye, the colours come from the old ways.
It makes some different colours on fabric than pandanus.

From the Mungwuna tree, in the mangroves, we dig the colours out.

On pandanus it makes yellow with fresh water, and oranges and purple with the salt water.

In the bush dye in makes the oranges, bronzes and pinks.

When we get the colour red, we get leaves from those big trees and add some ash from the fire, to make the colour red.

We use that rusty stuff from community, from the dump, to make the patterns. We use leaves too.

We use merica tree for the black colour in the pandanus and the bush dye.
We put that black colour in the dye pots to every day.

That little square, on each scarf, shows the story of the black from the dye pot and the string we wrap around the fabric.

We join new ways and old ways together now. We make art for the future.

Men's Business and Women's Business

The old ladies used to make jewellery, they went to the beach to collect the shells and burt holes in the nuts.

They made different kinds of jewellery, with shark tooth and dugong tooth, mixed it up with them seeds.

They use special jewellery for ceremony, different jewellery to what we make for you.

Men do carvings and paintings, they used to make canoes old way.

Only men do the painting about stories, only women can do bush tucker.

Sometimes husband and wife make paintings together, that’s okay.

Mens business and women’s business stay different, it’s our law, our culture.


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