A day at the art centre often begins with a bush trip to collect leaves, roots, berries and firewood. The women sit together, often by the sea or Angurugu River and design each garment, carefully placing leaves to make patterns and markings on the fabric before placing them into the dyepots full of the gathered plant materials. It’s then time for a cuppa and to wait and watch the silk transform into a unique reflection of Anindilyakwa land. As the women’s bush dyeing practice evolves, new plants are experimented with and new dyes are created.
“The Land Council started by people coming together to think and talk for the future. They made the art centre in 2005 for all Anindilyakwa people. The art centre can sell it anywhere. People love what we’re doing, the bush dye and jewellery. We get good money to build the art centre for the future. The art centre is for people to come and learn, we learn (teach) new people from the community to make art the old ways. The art centre is good for community, not everyone is an artist or interested in learning the old ways. It’s important that we teach them so they can make baskets and dilly bags too. The old people left us this for the future.” – Annabel Amagula, Senior Anindilyakwa Artist
“To me the scarves look like the rocks and all the different layers of the land, the trees and the bush. The spirits live all around in the trees and though the bush and when you are near the caves you can feel them floating. You can see these colours in the paintings in the caves, on the rock walls and when you sit there and look by yourself you can feel all the spirits moving” – Bernadette Watt
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Images courtesy of Anindilyakwa Arts