History Beneath the Beauty - 100cm x 200cm

Artisit: Jan Baljagil Gunjaka Griffiths

Size: 100cm x 200cm 

Medium: Natural ochre and pigments on canvas

Biography: Jan Baljagil Griffiths is a dedicated and prolific artist primarily working across painting, ceramics and poetry .Her work explores personal family narratives which have also included multi-media installations, fashion and photography.
"I was born in Kununurra and I went to school in Broome. I started painting at Waringarri Arts in 2015 to carry on the stories of my parents, Peggy and Alan Griffiths - the cultural stories that were handed down to them and now to me. Both my parents are famous artists in Kimberley but most importantly, they are my traditional teachers. I too can keep our tradition alive and hand down stories of our ancestors and how our country came to be, down to the next generation and generations to come. I do this with great pride and honour. I am a multi-disciplinary artists and my arts practice includes painting, poetry, ceramics and couture fashion.

Story from the certificate of authenticity:
Woorrilbem holds a history. A blast from my grandmother's past as a child she went to this billabong to collect the lily flowers, its bulb, mussels and other edible bush food to take back to her family. One particular day on a usual walk she saw two strange men way off in the distance. A manager on horse back and a black tracker leading a donkey with a sack on its back. They were tracking Aboriginal, Miriwoong people to work for the manager at the station. As the men came closer, my grandmother slipped into the billabong to hide until the men were out of sight. My grandmother then got out and started running as fast as she could back to her family, but it was too late as the strange men were already approaching the camp. With mixed emotions my grandmother spoke and pointed atthe same time to the strange men, but the black tracker spoke in Miriwoong language and said they were friendly people looking for workers to work at the station for sugar, tea and tobacco as rations and brought flour to make bread as a piece offering. Some Miriwoong people did go and work for the strange manager man. My grandmother and her family stayed on country. If we don't carry this story and tell our children the history of Woorrilbem and its beauty will take over and my grandmother's Country will be lost and forgotten for ever.

The different coloured lily pads are my grandmother's emotions flowering through the billabong. The green lily pads are the original  colours covering the history of my grandmother's story. The straight lines represent the calm relaxing billabong before my grandmother entered the water.




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