Yarrabah’s exhibition Jabu Birriny, meaning ‘land’ and ‘sea’, celebrates the unique environment of Yarrabah and its importance to culture and people. Located on the shore of Cape Grafton Far North Queensland, Yarrabah is the traditional Country of the Gunggandji people. It is a dynamic Aboriginal community surrounded by tropical native bushland and mountain ranges united by sandy coastlines and coral reefs. Jabu Birriny brings together these stories rich in lineal, past and recent histories through vibrant prints, intricately woven vessels and textured ceramics that embody the land and sea.
Jabu Birriny includes works from artists Philomena Yeatman, Michelle Yeatman, Valmai Pollard, Edna Ambrym and Ruben Ambrym. Independent artist, Elverina Johnson is also included, as are the beautiful artworks from relatively new Yarrabah artist, Eric Orcher. Yarrabah artists are renowned for their production of distinctive contemporary work in the mediums of ceramic, textile, fibre, print and painting. Each artist has their own unique approach to their art making which celebrates the community’s cultural identity of the land and sea and continues the cultural practices and stories unique to the area.
Jabu Birriny was developed by the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) in partnership with Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct, and was on display at SLQ from October 2017 to March 2018. The exhibition will now be on display at the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct Gallery from 14 June to 31 July 2019.
In partnership with Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct, Flying Arts will be supporting the 2019-2021 touring of Jabu Birriny. This will see the coordination and support of public programs, travelling artists, community members and Elders from Yarrabah to share art and culture with Indigenous and NonIndigenous community members from galleries in ten regional Queensland communities. Jabu Birriny will tour to Kooralbyn Valley, Chinchilla, Tambo, Atherton, Biloela, Mackay and Thursday Island. 2019 has been declared International Year of Indigenous Languages and the exhibition encourages a lasting dialogue around art and culture in this context.
Main image credit: (Detail) Mayi Bugamm – Sea by Edna Ambryn, two plate colour etching 2017. Image: Yarrabah Arts