Aboriginal Quandamooka woman
Shara is an Australian Aboriginal contemporary artist from Quandamooka country, inspired by stories of her Elders, the generation from One Mile.
Shara Delaney is a traditional owner through her parents the Delaney and close families, the Noounccal, Ngugi & Gorenpul clan groups of Quandamooka. Shara’s paintings are her identity as a strong saltwater woman, connection to family, sand and sea.
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My Mother Earth
Naree Budjong Djara translates to 'My Mother Earth.'
This artwork represents the special connection between land and water to Aboriginal Peoples. We value our relationship to Country, and honour it through art, language, song, and dance, and the passing of knowledge and customs down to younger generations. When our environment is thriving and protected, our people feel the same way. When it's under threat, this impacts us mentally and spiritually. We mourn loss and destruction of sacred sites and cultural heritage. If we can make sustainable decisions to support Mother Earth, it will not only benefit our wellbeing but also future generations. The design includes lines and circles - representing families and community - all joined together to represent unification, keeping our culture alive and strong. The "U" shapes signify people in our community. Our Old People told us what foods were suitable to eat and what plants and animals were in season. These are the different aspects I created using the dots.
This artwork represents Caring for Country. Jara means country, yaga means work, and nya means caring. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have always advocated for country. Our voices and input are so vital regarding managing and protecting land and water. Our knowledge systems are linked to our long-term interactions with stories of significant places within our country. The use of vibrant colour speaks of our old peoples' philosophy of life and cultural teachings that are important for all to consider within their interactions with the environment.
It's great to see contemporary and traditional practices being used by mob in Caring for Country strategies. Never underestimate our cultural knowledge because we have successfully used these practises for thousands of years.
If you want to heal country, then pay attention to First Nations Voices. This artwork hopes to capture the past and express deeply felt concerns regarding desecration of ancient sites and the struggle to reclaim cultural context.
In my design, I wanted to capture how I look up to my mother and grandmother. Many of us can relate to this bond. The mother figure keeps the family together and makes the sacrifices for her children to achieve greater things, and who continues to inspire them to this day.
I come from a strong line of Aboriginal women. Descendant of old Granny Mibu and Neli Nidgeri, born at Pulan (Amity). My mother, artist and author is Sandra Rose Delaney nee Close. There’s also my maternal grandmother Marion Violet Close nee Currie who married into the close family. My Nan is 95 years old and still going strong. She’s originally from Jerico/Bunya Mountains, but an Elder of our community Minjerribah.
This painting is our many family groups on country - past and present - that keep growing. The circles bounded together, for stronger relationships. The feminine colour palette was chosen to represent our women, with the touches of blue to reflect the Quandamooka Waters. Babragowi (pigface flowers), a native plant found along the coastal areas of Minjerribah, is depicted in this work as they remind me of the women in my life. My mother told me our Grannies gathered wildflowers for special occasions, for decorations in their homes and for the graves.
I come from Quandamooka Country. This painting pays tribute to one of our Sea Country totems, Buangan (dolphin). Our old people called them 'porpoises.' Today, we greet Buangan in the blue waters of Quandamooka Sea Country with the Jandai greeting of 'yura' which acknowledges the Buangan presence and their relationship to our people.
Stories handed down through our family tell of my grandfather Sonny Close as a fisherman when he used to strike the water to call Buangan who would chase the fish into the nets. Buangan would be rewarded by getting a share of the catch. In the old days, some Elders could claim as their own certain marked Buangan that frequented Pulan / Amity.
I am always inspired to paint Buangan as they highlight an important aspect of my identity as a Quandamooka Saltwater Goori. In the night sky is three conjoined circles which represent our clan groups Ngugi, Goenpul and Noonuccal.
The humpback whale is coming, watch her as she swims past heading north. It's humpback whale migration season during June to November each year. Humpback whales travel north to the warmer waters in the colder months to have their offspring, then returning south with their young to Antarctica.
I come from Quandamooka Country that's located on the coast of Brisbane. Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) is a great location for people hoping to see these whales breach above the water. Yalingbilia (whale) is not our totem, however they're special visitors to our waters.
We welcome them every year. I view them as such majestic creatures, which is what inspired me to paint the Yalingbila. I've painted it passing by Quandamooka Country under the night sky. Above the ocean is three conjoined circles which represent our clan groups Ngugi, Goenpul and Noonuccal.
Having a connection to our home lands, passing on knowledge and customs down to our younger generations is important to us. After all the years of oppression and removal it’s something we still fight for. I’m from Quandamooka Country where there is three clan groups known as Nughi of Moorgumpin (now known as Moreton Island) and the Nonuccal and Goenpul of Minjerribah. We are also known as Yoolooburrabee “People of the sand and sea.”
These clan groups are represented as the three earthy brown, oblong circles in this design. The undulating lines in various shades of blue emulate the flowing movements of the ocean. They also represent the movement of our culture, flowing on for years to come.
I can only dream that in many years' time we are still going strong and our home, lands and sea are being cared for. This painting is for everyone who cares for country.
I’m always pulling inspiration from my surroundings. My love for the water is one of the best things I enjoy painting. Dabil means water in Jandai language. I've captured the motion of the moving current by painting wavy lines of rich blues and greens. When I’m feeling disconnected to country, the first place I want to go to is the beach.
The flowing movement of water is like our culture and language continuing on into the future. We will always carry on a connection to our home lands, passing knowledge and customs down to our younger generations. Caring for Country is important because of the significance of saving our waterways and oceans for years to come.
Our Languages Matter
The resounding sense of “flow and continuity of culture in language” is the touchstone of Shara’s work. Shara sees language as a conveyor of identity, culture and knowledge, and a connection back to ancestors. These themes are written in the central circles of the painting, as well as typified in several different motifs.
The smaller circles ridden with multiple coloured dots represent meeting places and community, and have lines of connection.
Below the community circles is series of undulating lines in an arc-shape with multi-coloured dots entrapped. Shara defines these as the different dialects within the hundreds of Indigenous language groups. The patterns in the top of the painting are to be seen within that sense of flow of culture. The series of hand prints, painted in a shadow effect, represent the hands of the ancestors.
The three main circles within this painting represent the three Quandamooka clan groups; namely Noonuccal, Gorenpul, and Ngugi clans.
The wavy lines emanating out from the clan circles are the flowing waters of the coastal regions. These lines also depict “connection lines to country and animals." The motifs of fish, turtles and dolphins are totemic to the various clans and represent identity. The soft blue colour palette of the painting echos the colours of the seas and coastal regions of Quandamooka.
First Nations Voice
This artwork is about the First Nations voice of this country, in regards to having a say on our rights and issues involving our peoples. Our culture is thousands of years old, we should be respected and acknowledged.
Quandamooka (Moreton Bay) is home to many sea animals. They represent a part of my identity as a saltwater woman - we share the same home. Stingrays are also known as Bang-gujin. They swim in the shallow waters and are sometimes hidden in the sand. They are majestic creatures and not to be feared. Respect them and they will not hurt you.
The small circles in the painting are songlines, with the lines connecting each of them together. The songlines map the journey my family has made as they travel along the mangroves at Myora Springs and further along the shores. Bang-gujin are often spotted by families as they look for mud crabs to catch.
Connection to Country
This contemporary painting highlights the First Nations peoples relationship to the land - past, present and future. The circles represent each First Nations group, who we belong to and identify as. It portrays the intricate, respectful, spiritually and physically dependent, grateful, and protective ties to Country that gives us strength, resilience and a hope for the future.
Naree Budjong Djara is 'My Mother Earth.' This is my homelands; our connection to the land and sea. The topographical looking circle shape [off-centre of the painting] represents Mother Earth. The smaller layered circles, dispersed randomly across the painting, represent our community and family ties to country. The dots, within and around the layered circles, represent the language and the knowledge that we continue on for generations.
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