On the weekend I travelled to Dondingalong to my family’s farm, I haven’t seen my parents for a long time so the visit was long overdue. Dongdingalong is in the rolling hills behind Kempsey, Northern NSW. I love visiting the farm, it is a place my family connects and I get the chance to reinvigorate and find inspiration.
While I was there, my father found an amazing slab of red mahogany in which he wanted painted to hang outside the house as feature piece. Not only does the house feature many of my pieces of work, but it is full of hand made tables and carvings by my father all of which feature the artworks of my mother and my sister. There is one painting in the house that my grandmother, Melva painted many years ago and is a favourite of mine. It is an Aboriginal family sitting and standing around a fire with their dog somewhere in the outback. This painting draws me in and I feel a strong connection to it, it shows me my roots, where I came from and how life once was for my family.
Since the slab of mahogany would be a feature piece outside the house, I thought it would be only fitting to paint it with one of the animals from my dreaming, Yugwurrirrindangwa (the Sawfish). The Sawfish plays a very important role in the creation story of Groote Eylandt. I have been lucky enough to listen to these stories from elders that grew up with my Grandmother and her siblings at the Emerald River Mission on Groote Eylandt. I have visited the place where Yugwurrirrindangwa rested after cutting out the Angurugu River with her teeth.