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The title for this exhibition ‘Wiwa Babbarra: Sacred Ground’ was chosen, with formal permissions from the traditional land owner and djunkai (land caretaker) of the land Babbarra. Babbarra billabong is a place of high sacred significance south of the community of Maningrida, and is also the namesake of our Women’s Centre.
‘Wiwa’ means my country, or home, in the language belonging to the Babbarra country- Njebbena. Together Wiwa Babbarra speaks of the tangible and non-tangible elements of the Babbarra land, which our art relates to. Babbarra country is hidden from those who do not know the place, and can only be accessed by foot though dense bushland. When first arriving at Babbarra country, the most prominent environmental feature is the trees become fewer and give way to a large tranquil billabong sounded by gum forest. When you dig with your hands, the land is yellow in colour, and it is a key place for collecting pandanus leaves and coloured dyes for fibre art.
All of our designs relate to our country and our stories, depicted using vibrant and bold designs. This Babbarra place has powerful place in traditional law, and is know to be a important fertility site for women for child bearing age. The power of the country is said to be hidden below the earth, and it particularly engaged in strong stormy season when electrical storms connect with the spirits below the surface. It is women’s djang (dreaming) and the stories are all owned by women.