Gaanyji (Shells) by Jacqui Hunter out now! 🐚

ART STORY: Odorr (Dudong) Family

My design is a family of odorr (dugong) swimming through the water. In the old days, men would go hunting and would see the dust, and know it was a dugong feeding on the reef. It’s different from a stingray's dust.

Dugongs come in and out of our waters depending on the season. They hang around for about three months; then when the whales come in, the dugongs move on out. At the same time the turtles start mating.

Traditionally they would go out hunting dugong on rafts - today we go out on dinghy, and spear them with a big jarraja (harpoon spear). We make the spears from wongai (wattle) or woolleybutt.

Traditional way is the best for cooking dugong - in the ground. It’s a bit like pork; so you can roast it, boil it, stirfry it, or make stews out of it!

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Russel Davey (Wossy)

I’m a Bardi man; Chairperson of Ardyaloon community. We’re 220km north of Broome, on the Dampier Peninsula. Gateway to the Buccaneer Archipalego. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve lived here all my life. Pretty much everyone in the community is my family - we’re all related one way or the other! I’m a saltwater man. I love fishing, camping, and being on country.

My role as Chairperson is a pretty full-on 24/7 job: dealing with community issues, managing local tourism, including tours + visits to the Hatchery (a local aquarium for reef fish, and sealife). My vision is to see my people running the community. The road from Broome has just been sealed up, which will hopefully create more employment - we’ll have a lot more people visiting!

Growing up I loved drawing. Every time there was an art class I was involved in that. I carve turtle shells, boab nuts, and ceremony shields. I also do wood burning. I sell through word of mouth - people come into the community and ask around - and they find me!