A young girl, Rose, living in the Top End of the Northern Territory, tells the story of a day spent collecting colour from the local plants and making them into beautiful baskets.
Collecting Colour tells the story of a day spent collecting colour in the Top End of the Northern Territory, narrated by a white Australian girl, Rose.
Rose's best friend Olive's mother, Karrang, makes beautiful coloured baskets, mats and bags from leaves from the pandanus palm a tall, thin tree with very long, spiky leaves. Rose and Olive spend a day out bush helping to gather the pandanus leaves and stringy bark for making into strong bags and baskets. They collect the colour that the bags will be bright yellows and pinks, from special plants and berries. It is a hard day s work for Rose, but the results are worth it.
Collecting Colour, featuring stunning collage illustrations on Nepalese paper, is a feast for the senses and is also a fascinating insight into the way of life of fibre artists, who produce beautiful, original work in often difficult conditions.
When Elaine Russell was five, her dad built the family a shack just outside the Aboriginal mission at La Perouse in Sydney.
In The Shack that Dad Built, Elaine illustrates what life was like for an indigenous kid on the urban fringes. Her recollections range from the happy memories of hide-and-seek in the sand dunes and hunting for bush tucker to more bittersweet memories, such as her “Saddest Christmas Ever” (when the charity responsible for distributing presents to the local Aboriginal kids ran out of toys just as Elaine reached the head of the queue). Elaine’s colourful, painterly illustrations vividly recreate these childhood experiences.
About the Author
Elaine Russell spent much of her childhood on the Aboriginal mission at Lake Cargelligo, where her father was a handyman. In 1993, Elaine enrolled in a visual arts course and was finally able to realise her lifelong ambition to be a painter. Her work has been displayed—and is held by—museums and galleries around the world.
When I was little like you,I loved to go bush with my family. The other kids and I used to play all sorts of games, and we used to get our own food and cook it. At night- time we sat around the fire and listened as our elders told us Tjukurrpa Yara- stories of the Dreaming. Then we went to sleep under the stars. As Mary Malbunka shares her stories of playing with friends, building cubby houses, climbing trees, collecting sugarbag, diging for honey ants, hunting for lizards, and learning about the seasons, animals and plants she creates a vivid picture of a truly Australian childhood in which country – ngurra- is life itself.