Collaborators: Art in Mornington Island

Collaborators: Art in Mornington Island

In DulcieDot’s creation, I wanted my children to learn more about our culture and the women in our family and to create a platform for Aboriginal Artists to proudly share and commemorate stories of Country in the form of wearable art. 

We are learning so many incredible stories from the First Nations women we collaborate with throughout the journey of making our garments. We want to share these learnings, with each artists permission because to appreciate the Aboriginal Art is one thing; to understand it is another.

I’m writing a two-part series of the stories with who is behind the art of the beautiful prints on DulcieDots first collection. In this part, we will talk about two artists from Mornington Island: Noelene Hills and Agnes Kohler (nee Goongarra).

Noelene Wendy Hills

Noelene Hills and Bunbudgee print 
(Image by Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation)

We have partnered with Noelene from in our first collection with her work 'Bunbudee'. 

Noelene is a Lardil woman born at Baralkia and living at Gununa, Mornington Island. She started painting to join the rest of her family at Mirndiyan Gununa. 

Noelene loves to go camping at Picnic Point, where she spends most of her time with her children and grandchildren. At Picnic Point, turtles come up to lay their eggs and the little ones rush to shore to get to safety.

Noelene Hills’ artwork is entitled “Bunbudgee”. It is about the white bush dove. Bunbudgee means white bush dove in Lardil. It is Noelene’s totem from her mother's father. You can purchase Bunbudgee and her other artwork on here.

Agnes Kohler (nee Goongarra)

Agnes Kohler (nee Goongarra) and Mudshells artwork/print
(Image from Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation)

We also partnered with Agnes for our first collection with her work 'Mudshells'. 

Agnes is a Kaidildt woman, born and living on Gununa, Mornington Island, and her Country is Dukawalne on Bentinck Island. She was born soon after their people crossed over to Mornington Island. In those days the Lardil mob fostered or adopted them as their family. The Jacobs adopted her and her sister Gay. In the 60s, Agnes was sent out to work on the mainland.

As she raised her family, she also adopted children. She used to muck around scribbling, drawing little houses with her kids. They told Agnes to join the old people here at Mirndiyan Gununa to save her from worrying, and take her mind off things.

“It's good to be alongside family members working, creating and learning together.” - Agnes

Agnes Kohler’s artwork featuring on our garments is entitled “Mud Shells” which is about her homeland, Dulkawalne on Bentinck Island. You can also find and buy Agnes’ artwork on the here.

About Mornington Island and Mornington Island Arts

(Image from Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation)

Mornington Island is the largest of the Wellesley Islands group, which is located in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland. It has a long and storied cultural heritage, much of which has been passed down down the generations through songlines, storytelling, dance, and Aboriginal lore. Mornington Island has a long history of performance, visual art, and craft.

Woomera Aboriginal Corporation was incorporated in 1983 after being established in 1973. Woomera chose to collaborate with artists to make fine art paintings in 2004. This was considered as a method to improve artists' skills, boost Mornington Islands Arts Aboriginal Corporation (MIAAC) financial stability, and expand opportunities for local residents. In 2009, Woomera Aboriginal Corporation became Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (MGAC). The primary goal of the Mirndiyan Gununa is to preserve and develop the cultures of the Lardil and Kaidildt people by strengthening the community and showcasing their unique cultures to the rest of the world.

From Land and Culture to Works of Art

(Image from Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation)

In their artistic interpretations, Mornington Island artists are profoundly influenced and related to their land and culture. They firmly relate their stories of their families' deep-rooted links to the Old People, resulting in works of extraordinary beauty and clarity. Mornington Island artists are both established and emerging and are renowned for their richness and vibrancy in colour.  

At DulcieDot we are deeply grateful to be partnering with the incredibly talented Noelene Hills and Agnes Kohler and are honoured to learn and share their stories with you.