Kunmadj and Cheeky Yam by Ruth Bindeidbal, Jennifer Wurrkidj (dec)

Kunmadj and Cheeky Yam

Collaborative work by Ruth Bindiedbal (printer) and her aunt Deborah Wurrkidj as designer. This fabric is a light piece of bush dyed silk. The photo shows a work being completed but this fabric is fully covered.

Deborah has depicted kunmadj (dillybag), which is a large woven collecting basket. These large bags are often made from the burney vine (Trophis scandens), a strong, pliable plant that grows along the ground and into the canopy of monsoon vine thickets. The bags are used to collect heavy foods, such as fish caught in conical fish traps, or yams. They can also be made from kun-dayarr (Pandanus spiralis), a palm that grows in many areas of Arnhem Land. Tightly woven dillybags are used to collect sugarbag, the native honey. As well as being of practical use, dillybags are of cultural significance to Arnhem Land people. They are totemic objects associated with particular sites in the landscape.