We'd like to introduce you to Maicey Lalara - our rock star team leader from Umbakuma Community. 

"We have been having dyeing days at Umbakumba for 1 year now.
Most of my family live at the other community, Angurgu, but my mums family is here. They’re very different communities.

Angurgu is near the river and Umbakumba is near the sea. We can smell the sea from our house, feel the breeze.

On the weekend you can see all the ladies fishing on the wharf, little kids trying to catch the little fish with spears.

Heaps of crocodiles, but they don’t come close. They’re scared of black people, only eat them white people.

When Lucy first came here to Umbakumba, she put a note at the shop asking if anyone wanted to learn to Bush Dye.

I thought to myself, “I’ll give it a go”.

Then when Lucy and Annabell and Leta and the other girls came here to Umbakumba, I came down to the beach and that was my first time.

When I first saw them ladies making the patterns on the fabric, I wanted to come every day.

It was good for me. Good for my future.




When I first met Lucy, I felt good. I was thinking, I could teach the school kids this.

I like teaching people how to bush dye, it's my favourite part. When we have our own art centre here, I can teach the young kids, how to collect them shells and make necklaces too.

I asked Lucy if I could do it from Umbakumba, so she said she would come every Thursday and we all come down to the beach and dye.


Other communities are different to us on Groote Eylandt. We’ve got black mining here, that's why we’ve got the black dye, it makes the colour go brighter.

Dyeing pandanus is the same way as dyeing fabric. We get other colours from the bush to get the bright colours. I’m just learning which plants get the colours, i’m going to go round the community and get help from the old ladies. Elsie knows about the yellow dye and red dye, but I know the black dye now.

It’s my dream to have an art centre here. So everyone can learn and I can teach."


Maicey is a ghost net weaver & bush dyeing artist - check out her artwork on her artist profile.