Collaborators: Daphne de Jersey

Collaborators: Daphne de Jersey

Why do we collaborate with First Nations artists? Not only do we want to create a platform for artists to proudly share their stories through our wearable art, but also because we want to educate the next generation continuing our culture and connection.

In this part of the collaborators series, we’ll be talking about Daphne De Jersey, a passionate talented artist from Mapoon in Western Cape York. Before that, let’s take a look at the art hub that supports Indigenous artists like Daphne De Jersey in the Western and Northern Cape York regions: Wei’ Num Arts.

About Wei’ Num Arts

(image supplied by Wei’Num Arts)

In 2007, a public forum in Weipa discussed the need for forming an artist-run organisation to nurture and promote Indigenous art in the mentioned regions. Weipa was chosen as the location for arts-based courses for artists, including the development of creative and entrepreneurial abilities. It was dubbed the Art Centre. The Art Hub concept was born out of a collaboration between community and government leaders. This is now referred to as Wei' Num.

Wei' Num provides First Nations artists in Weipa, Napranum, and Mapoon with arts and craft-based business and professional development opportunities. It supports the expansion and recognition of the arts as a significant industry in First Nations communities, with the potential to provide education and training in arts practise and business, economic growth, cultural preservation and retention, employment, and community engagement and pride.

Daphne de Jersey

(image of Daphne de Jersey and her artwork 'Gweeni')

Daphne de Jersey is an artist, mother and passionate community health practitioner from Mapoon in the far northern QLD. Daphne has always been a creative person, gravitating towards tactile ceramics as a high school student and discovering her painting aptitude in 2004. As a mother of seven children and the grandmother of eight Daphne uses her artwork as a way to pass down her knowledge of Country to her descendants. 

Daphne had immediate success as a participant in the early Western Cape Artists programme in Mapoon, with her first painting selling to a wealthy businessman. Daphne draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including her own life experiences and events, as well as her knowledge of bush food, which she learned from her mother and incorporates into her work. In traditional culture, bush foods and their seasonal occurrence are extremely important. The value of bush food has been shown over many years of observation with this knowledge being transferred from generation to generation.

Daphne's paintings are also inspired by her mother's personal stories of growing up in the mission, as well as her grandmother, a child of the stolen generation. Daphne's passion and originality are evident in each of her contemporary paintings.

Purchase or commission Daphne de Jersey’s artworks here or via Instagram @daphnedejersey

Learn more about Daphne de Jersey's story here:
Daphne's connection to Mapoon
both videos created by Charles Street

Behind the Artwork “Gweeni”

Daphne’s artwork featured on DulcieDot garments is entitled “Gweeni”. Gweeni is the seed bud of the freshwater lily, which can be found in the far northern Australian swamps. Her first taste of a gweeni was with her Grandmother Jessie Savo. She had requested that her Uncle collect some from a nearby lagoon.

(Artwork: Gweeni by Daphne de Jersey) 

She recalls her grandmother telling her to taste it as it was good for her. It was crunchy, seedy, and oily. Daphne reasoned that if her grandmother said it was good for her, it must be, regardless of the taste. This food is now only collected by folks who know the traditional ways. Daphne wants to pass down to generations the knowledge she gained from her elders through the artwork she makes.

DulcieDot is beyond happy to collaborate with Daphne de Jersey and are honoured to share her story and knowledge with you and the next generation of little world shapers.