Manme (bushfoods), by Merril Girrabul, Priscilla Badari, Lynne Nadjowh and Audrey Nadjowh - Injalak Arts
Artists - Merril Girrabul, Priscilla Badari, Lynne Nadjowh, Audrey Nadjowh
Manme was Injalak’s first women’s fabric design and was created in 1992 by four talented Kunwinjku women – Merril Girrabul, Priscilla Badari, Lynne Nadjowh and Audrey Nadjowh (deceased). The original artwork was destroyed, and recreated during a workshop in 2014. The women are all talented weavers, and they continue to create fabric designs reflecting their strong connection to country and culture.
Kunwinjku people refer to the bush as their ‘supermarket’ containing everything from staple foods to snacks, medicines to raw materials.
This design celebrates manme (plant foods). Bordering the design are two hairy tubers which are carbohydrate staples, karrbarda (‘long yam’, Dioscorea transversa) and mankindjek (‘cheeky yam’, Dioscorea bulbifera). Mankinjdjek must be leached before cooking in a loosely woven djerrh (dilly bag) in running water.
Arnhem Land abounds in fruits especially in the ‘build-up’ and early wet season. The round fruits shown here are mankurndalh (‘black plum’, Persoonia falcata).
Many fruits are also used medicinally, including manngukmanj (cheesefruit tree, Morinda citrifolia), the large lumpy fruits in this design. The clover-like shape in this design is the open seedpod of mankarralarlhmanj (peanut tree, Sterculia quadrifida) filled with tasty and nourishing nuts.
This design is printed by the men and women at Injalak Arts; a non-profit Aboriginal-owned social enterprise in Gunbalanya, West Arnhem Land. Injalak Arts officially opened in November 1989. Before this, artists screenprinted in a small shed. Injalak artists and weavers work outside under trees, and under the long verandahs on either side of the Art Centre; screen printers work in the new purpose built screen-printing room. Injalak women take over the screen printing room - to print their own and others’ designs - on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Indigenous community art centres play an important role in the artistic and cultural life of traditional Aboriginal artists living in remote communities. Injalak Arts is an outstanding example of a community organisation that is 100% Aboriginal owned and delivers positive social, economic and cultural outcomes for its members.
Injalak Arts has around 200 active members – artists and weavers from Gunbalanya and surrounding outstations. While based in Gunbalanya, Injalak supports members who live at outstations (regularly travelling to Manmoyi, Mamadawerre and Kabulwarnamyo), thereby generating livelihoods for many individuals and families.
Bio, photos and art story provided by Injalak Arts. Read more and shop online at injalak.com