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        ART STORY: Joomoo Tree

        I drew the seeds and the flowers of the bauhinia tree - Joomoo tree in Bardi language. I drew it because it was in season at the time; it was flowering and fruiting. I like the Joomoo tree because of the many significances and uses it has. We can use the wood to burn; it's good wood for cooking food on. We also suck the honey that comes from the flower pods - the birds also love it. There’s a long cup in the little flower pod where the honey sits. We just get it and suck the honey out. It’s light - not thick honey. Very sweet.

        There’s soft sweet gum that also grows on that tree. The gum has its own taste: not sweet, not sour. We didn't have access to the shop growing up, so we’d go and eat all sorts of bush fruits. So the Joomoo tree is actually a food resource for us!

        It’s always got the beautiful leaves on it - it doesn't lose its leaves that much - so it’s always a shady tree. But if the leaves do drop, it’s good soil for growing other plants under it. So that’s the other thing about it. I’m a keen gardener, and when I lived in Ardyaloon, we had a big Joomoo tree at our house that I did all my gardening under. It’s got good shade, and good native soil that I could use. It’s so moist from the tree.

        There are colours naturally on the Joomoo tree- a black, rough trunk, then the long brown seed pods, the green of the leaves - not a high pitched green, but not too dull - and then the red flowers. The Joomoo tree is not just a tree, it has many uses. That’s just like people! There’s many parts of us that do different things. This tree is like that too.

        ABOUT THE ARTIST: Rowena Mouda

        I was born in Derby and raised at One Arm Point (Ardyaloon) Community. I am a descendent of the Oomeday and Yowjabi (Mother’s father), and Nyikina and Bardi (mother’s mother) tribes of the West Kimberley region, and my father is an Australian/American.

        My husband James and I have four children and four grandchildren. We live in Derby with our youngest son Lehm who’s in his final year (12) at Wesley College in Perth.

        I’ve been involved with community organisations all my life and had the privilege of being the Chairperson of Ardyaloon Community as a young woman. I have also been heavily involved with native title for my grandparents’ country. (“She made a big difference” - Annette Sampi)

        When I came to the Magpie Goose workshop, I was volunteering with Kingdom Aviation Ministry, flying into community with a chaplain. I also held a job with Ngunga Women’s Group (Derby) in the early years program. I am now exploring starting a bookkeeping and consultancy business. I am also working at Derby District High School on a part time basis as the Coordinator of Extended Services.

        The country which I am connected to is a special place, we have beautiful places to visit, fish and live. Our country is rich in culture, language and belonging, and family is so important to us. I love being out on country and connecting to it and hearing from family about it.

        I admire a lot of art, but I don’t consider myself an artist. I have not really got into art, apart from small activities that I have participated in at workshops. But I’m pretty excited to see my design on clothing actually!