Title: ‘Anggaliya’ (The Calling)
St James Primary School Yamba
Artist: Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl)
Medium: Acrylic on linen
Dimensions: 100cm (h) x 150cm (w)
Year: 2021

‘Anggaliya’ (The Calling), 2021;  is an artwork created specifically for the students, teachers and friends of St James Primary School. It tells the story of St James fishing in the Sea of Galilea with his father and John the Apostle, and is intertwined with Yaegl spirituality and mythology. The painting depicts three figures in a canoe, on the sea with a school of brightly coloured fish swimming toward them. A bright yellow and orange sun features prominently at the top. An aerial map of our coastline and country overlays the painting, containing various symbols.

In this work the sun represents Jesus as a bright, strong and powerful being, calling St James and all people to him. St James sits in the centre of the boat and has been purposefully depicted without too many details to reflect his humble service. The fish that swim toward the boat, the abundant catch that Jesus blessed St James with, represent the school community of St James – they are all different colours and shapes to represent the community’s cultural diversity. Behind the fish are various strokes that represent movement, change, and the flow of our river, Biirrinba (the Clarence River).

The overlay imagery that maps Biirrinba winding its way inland toward Maclean, the coastline of Yamba, Iluka, and Lake Wooloweyah is important for tying this artwork to our unique Yaegl land. It is a place we are all proud to call home and features so prominently here to reflect our reverence.

The various markings throughout the work, particularly in the river, represent the various paths we take in life. The circular symbols represent community, togetherness, reconciliation and peace. 

The work also incorporates, acknowledges and pays respect to Yaegl dreamtime. The boat that St James sits in can also be seen as symbolising our Yaegl story of the stone canoe. There are many different variations of this story but we have come to acknowledge that Dirrangun (referenced in many Yaegl, Gumbaynggirr, and Bundjalung stories) was an angry old woman who presided over Biirrinba cast her son and two grandchildren out into the ocean, turning their canoe to stone and letting it rest just off Angourie point. The Yaegl people have a fearful respect for Dirrangun and acknowledge her role in shaping our land and river.