Title: ‘Mun.gal’ Artist: Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl) Date: 2023 Medium: Acrylic on Linen Size: 84cm x 60cm
Did you know that a single oyster can clean up to 190 litres of water per day?
This work, ‘Mun.gal’ (oyster in Yaygirr) depicts a cluster of four oysters, showcasing the significance of these creatures in our cultural and ecological heritage. The image represents the vital role oysters play in our ecosystem as natural water filters, keeping our waterways clean.
Additionally, oysters have been a staple food source for Aboriginal people for generations, providing us with essential nutrients and sustaining our communities. Found in middens throughout various parts of Australia, and particularly on my Yaegl country, there is a deep respect and love for this creature.
The patterns inside represent the sheen and natural beauty of an oyster shell as well as the intricacies and folds of the mollusc itself.
The line designs represent pathways that Aboriginal people would have used to trek and find oysters right across their lands. The other patterns, created through laying down layers of paint, represent middens and the way they become naturally covered as time passes.
This artwork serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting the delicate balance of our environment, and the significance of maintaining our cultural traditions and practices.