Daphne de Jersey


I am a mother of seven and grandmother to 5 children and I am currently working as a Senior Indigenous Health Practitioner with Apunipima Cape York Health Council. I have always been an artistic individual, leaning more towards the tactile ceramics field as a student in secondary school and coming to find my painting ability in 2004. When partaking in the Western Cape Artists program in Mapoon, I had instant success with my first painting selling to a wealthy business owner.

Inspiration comes from many places for me including my own life experiences and events, coupled with my knowledge of bush food which was passed down from my mother and is a signature representation in my works. Bush foods and their seasonal occurrence have great significance in traditional culture. Through countless years of observation and generation after generation of knowledge transfer, the importance of bush food is immeasurable. My mother’s own personal story of growing up in the mission also inspires my paintings, as well as my grandmother, a child of the stolen generation. 

Gweeni is the seed bud of the fresh water lily that is found in swamps throughout northern Australia. The first time I tasted gweeni was with my Grandmother Jessie Savo, she had asked my uncle to get her some from a lagoon we were near. I remember her saying to me “taste this it’s good for you” I remember it being crunchy very seedy and oily. I thought well if my Grandmother said its good for me it must be, never mind it didn’t taste that good. This food now is only collected by people who still know the old ways. The knowledge that was passed onto me by my grandmother mother and our senior elders I try to put into my prints and artwork.