Bawáliba (Spirit Woman)
Print: Bawáliba (Spirit Woman)
By: Lucy Yarawanga (Gurr-goni)
This fabric was created using the linocut printing technique. The lino tile has been hand drawn and carved by the artist in Maningrida, and has been printed by hand using a variety of colours and layers. The linocut technique ensures each textile piece is a one-off, limited edition piece.
“This is the Dreaming of my mother and my uncles. These spirits are called Bawáliba. A long time ago they used to go out hunting. That’s in Ranger station near the airport (mum and uncle from further this way to Jingarr). Their homeland. They used to go out hunting with dilly bags and digging sticks. They used to collect a lot of bush foods, and sleep together with one bark shelter.
Sometimes they come alive when we sleep, they come in the house when we sleep and peep through the window and we looked them with white clay (gapan) and red cloth tied around. We get up to look but they have disappeared. They are really tall. They are like human beings, like us. They dance and have a lot of hair. They are carrying fish traps and digging sticks.
They are good spirits, they protect us and they recognise families. They might knock on the window to remind us they are there looking out for us. You can hear them whisper, sometimes they talk about us and might say, ‘why are they making a house here?’ Then they say to each other, ‘This family are from here, its ok, they are sleeping here for the night’. During the day they turn into stone and they sleep. When you see that green rock, that’s Bawáliba.”