Bawáliba (stone country Mimih) and Ngalyod (rainbow serpent)

‘I’m a screen printer and a lino printer and I’m from Maningrida, NT and my age is 60. I was born here in Maningrida and I schooled here. I have four children but I lost one of them and I have 6 grandchildren. I want to do more screen printing but I prefer the small screens. I prefer lino printing because I like to stand tall and it physically feels better. I quit smoking in 2020 and I would like to tell other women to stop smoking and do more exercise.!

My Kikka (mother), when she was alive, she would tell me these stories. I was just a little girl and she would tell us the stories in her language Gurrgoni.

“In the camps there were boy and girl Bawaliba, and old Bawaliba too. They loved to dance by the firelight, keeping rhythm with a stick. They had lots of hair, they were really tall and skinny, with spots on their bodies… The Bawaliba lived a long time in peace. They were the only spirits on their country and so they were never disturbed.

One day, a long time ago, the Bawaliba were out hunting and they saw a large snake- they didn’t know then but she was the Rainbow Serpent. They were really scared, they had never seen that creature before. She was really beautiful- like a normal king brown snake but with a rainbow from the sky on her back. The rainbow serpent was really hungry, and she could smell the Bawaliba from a long way away. She was out looking for food.

The Bawaliba tried to stop Ngalyod coming for them but she was just too quick. She snuck up behind the Bawaliba and before they could get away she ate them up. When she was really full and couldn’t eat anymore Bawaliba she changed the rest of them into stone. Still til this day, the Bawaliba stay on that same country as stones.”

Neon yellow fabric with black, purple and orange ink