Yalbun (Lily Seeds) by Agnes Wilfred

"My design is called Lily Seeds – ‘Yalbun’ in Alawa language. In the olden days my grandparents used it to make damper (‘da ga’ in Kriol). They’d go out to the billabong to collect the lily, take the seed out, spread it out to dry in the sun, smash it up with a rock into flour, put water in it, make it into a damper patty, and then fry it.

In this design there’s the Yalbun (the big circular lily pad), and the seeds – that’s what we eat (the little black dots), and then there’s the Ganaya (the pineapple shaped image) – that sits in the mud. We boil it. Inside it’s like an egg – very yellow. And then there’s Runggai (the hairy one) – that also sits below the water, in the mud, at the bottom of the stem.

We still go out and collect this bush food and eat it – it’s best after there’s lots of rain in the wet season, then in the dry season we collect it in the billabong.

People used to live off this food – especially our parents – they lived off the bush.

It took a few days for me to do this design. But I always think of Yalbun as my artwork, my favourite design. I’m always drawing it – I like drawing Yalbun a lot because it makes me think about the times that we all go out to get Yalbun. I love seeing my designs on the clothes – it makes me feel like an artist! And happy! I’m excited to learn more about doing designs and art."

In this design there’s the Yalbun (the big circular lily pad), and the seeds – that’s what we eat (the little black dots), and then there’s the Ganaya (the pineapple shaped image) – that sits in the mud. ”

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