Storied objects by Elisa Jane Carmichael reflect the enduring synchrony of species on her island of Minjerribah.
Elisa Jane Carmichael (“Leecee”) continues to develop her fibre art as a storytelling medium. Leecee is of the Ngugi people from Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) and Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, part of the Quandamooka nation, Moreton Bay, East of Brisbane). She has learnt the “loop and diagonal knot” weaving that her mother Sonja Carmichael recovered, which can be found in the traditional gulayi (women’s bag).
Work made for an exhibition at Onespace Gallery, Brisbane, reflects the seasonality relevant to Garland’s current issue. When the lorikeets call refers to the time in winter when the birds arrive to feed on the wattle. This also heralds the arrival of mullet for fishing.
The rainbow fibre for this bag was merino wool that was sourced while on artistic exchange in Canada. The traditional diagonal knot is prominent. Mullet scales were attached to the string made from the inner bark of the cotton tree (Talwalpin). Improvised spoons were made with oyster shells as a symbol of abundance. And the feathers were sourced from a friend who found a deceased bird.
Leecee notes that the seasons are changing with the warming of the climate. But she has confidence in the persistence of culture through these changes: “Even though the seasons and weather are changing, our connection with the land and waters in the sky will remain.”
Elisa Jane Carmichael, Present Surroundings, is at Onespace Gallery, Brisbane, 26 March – 24 April 2021
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