Tiri Sisters (Three Sisters) by Ellarose Savage, Erub Arts. Image: Rohan Thompson.

Berder. Gaba. Urrknga. Wantja.

An exhibition titled Berder. Gaba. Urrknga. Wantja. was a showcase of ceramics by the Remote Communities Ceramic Network held at the Nishi Gallery in Canberra from 13 April to 1 June 2019. Included in the exhibition were artist works from Erub Arts on Darnley Island in the Torres Strait Islands, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre at Cardwell North Qld, and Hermannsburg Potters, Ernabella Arts in South Australia.

The title of the exhibition described the closest word for ‘clay’ from each place. Berder is a Meriam (Torres Strait Island) word for ‘mud’. Gaba is a Girramay, Jirrbal and Gulnay (Queensland) word for ‘white clay’; one of four ochre colours used to paint traditional objects. Urrknga is a Western Aranda (Northern Territory) word for ‘clay or dirty mud’. Wantja is a Pitjantjatjara (South Australia) word for ‘the hard, moist earth and the first sign of water when digging a soakage well’. This program and exhibition was supported by the Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, IVAIS, ANU and Arts Queensland.

Main image credit: Tiri Sisters (Three Sisters) by Ellarose Savage, Erub Arts. Image: Rohan Thompson.

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