Amy Loogatha is the older and Ethel Thomas the youngest of King Alfred and Thelma Loogatha. Makarrki is on the north side of Bentinck Island and a large river system runs through it. This is our Father King Alfred as he was known by the missionaries, this Country is his – it’s where he was born. His Kayardild name, Makarrkingathi Dingkarringathi Thuwathu Bijarrb, and our Mother was Thelma Loogatha Minakurinathi Juda Juda – that’s her Kayardild name.
"I painted the top part of his Country where the salt pans are - here his Country is nearby, his younger brother Percy’s Thundi and back to Wudu Rukuthi where he raised his children. We shared in painting the river because it provided food for our families. Even today our boys go back to hunt for dugong and turtles, but only if the weather’s fine."
"I painted the mud and mangrove dwelling shells which we call mardalwanda wirrinda - there’s plenty in the river like mud shells, cockles, long mangrove shells and many more. Our Dad’s wives and sisters made sure we knew him and his country by the stories they told. Makarrkingathi (north side of Bentinck Island) Dingkarringathi (small island south east of Sweers Island) Thuwathu (rainbow serpent - birth sign) Bijarrb (clan totem - dugong) and our Mother was Thelma Loogatha Minakurinathi Country Minakuri Juda Juda (birth sign Christmas bird)."
Main image credit: Amy Loogatha & Ethel Thomas, Makarrki, Acrylic on Belgian linen, 196 x 197cm. Image: MI Art