• Yir (Dilly Bag)

Rose Wilfred

Yir (Dilly Bag)

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Nunggayinbala people have used dilly bags for thousands of years for practical and ceremonial purposes, but not untill recently were they made from repurposed ghost nets and shade cloth fabric. Dilly bags, or 'yir' in Nunggubuyu language, were traditionally made from pandanus or bark, and painted using different shades of ochre. Numbulwar artists have taken tradition to the next level by replicating the forms using found, contemporary materials that speak to the environmental deterioration of their homelands. Brightly coloured acrylics replace ochre stripes for clan identification and individual expression.

  • Painted shadecloth
  • Dimensions: 47 x 35 cm
  • Cat No. 153-24

“I was born in Katherine hospital. I’m from Ngukurr but I live in Numbulwar now. I come here from Ngukurr when I was 10 years old. My grandmother taught me how to make a weaving basket with pandanus. When I was 10 years old, I grow up at Walker River outstation with my grandmother and aunties. I was always sittng beside my grandmother. She taught me well to make baskets with pandanus. And she said you will make a basket with pandanus for your future when you grow up. Every timme when I sleep I see my grandmother’s spirit. She here with me and speaking in my dreams. And that’s my story.” Rose Wilfred is an artist, arts worker and weaving facilitator from Wuyagiba country. Although originally from Ngukkur, Rose has lived in Numbulwar for most of her life and was adopted by the Wilfred family. Rose’s artistic practice is heavily influenced by her grandmother, who she watched weaving from early childhood and who taught her the many skills and knowledges of weaving, bush tucker and bush medicine. Rose marries traditional practices and materiality with the innovative use of ghost nets in her art. In 2021, Rose graduated from the Arts Worker Extension Program (AWEP) delivered by Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA). Today, Rose plays an integral role in the everyday running of the art centre and teaches weaving at Numbulwar School to ensure traditional knowledges and practices are carried on.

Built on self-determination, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts (NNA) is a colletive or artists whose mission is to keep culture strong. Established in 2019, Numbulwar’s first art centre is 100 per cent owned and controlled by the community. Born from the community’s desire to practice and engage with traditional culture, NNA is a space for artistic and cultural expression. Champions of fibre art, NNA artists marry naturally-dyed and locally-harvested pandanus with bright and bold ghost nets, abandoned fishing line retrieved from Numbulwar’s shoreline. Our Wulbung (baskets) and Yir (dillybags) fit as naturally in traditional applications as they do in contemporary, urban environments. Numbulwar sits on the Rose River and belongs to the Nunggayinbala clan, one of the Wubuy or Nunggubuyu speaking clans from the region. Ceremonial activities are still very important within the region and occur regularly.

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