Title: ‘Warawa Bilwaali’ (come back home) Artist: Frances Belle Parker (Yaegl) Medium: Acrylic on linen Dimensions: 60cm x 90cm Year: 2021
This work depicts an aerial view of the Clarence River (or Biirrinba as we call it, in my mother’s Yaygirr language). It includes the twists and turns from the Broadwater to the west of Maclean to the coast.
Beaches from Iluka in the north down towards Angourie in the south. The river has been depicted as a single block of colour to emphasise its importance to the Yaegl people. It is our life-giving vein that runs through our land.
Various mark makings within the work represent growth and renewal. The linear markings represent the ebb and flow of the river and our ever-changing landscape. The markings also represent the underlying history and stories of the Yaegl people that are embedded into the landscape. The stories may be subtle, and our people’s presence not always obvious, but they are always there.
It is titled Warawa, meaning (come) back, and Bilwaali meaning home; or, come back home and it represents the connection that all of us have to this land. Indigenous and non-indigenous people have a special connection to this land that is unshakeable. So many of us feel compelled to always return – no matter how far we roam.