Body adornment has a long history in Yolngu culture. Items made from locally collected materials including, seeds, nuts, shells and plant fibres are made into items worn for ceremony or simply for every day use – in the words of artist Ruth Nalmarkarra “to make us pretty.”
Gunga (pandanus) is a tropical plant that grows readily in Milingimbi. The young leaves or new growth are harvested for weaving. Once collected, spikes are removed and the leaf is skilfully split horizontally, dried and dyed. Dyes are derived from combinations of leaves, roots and ashes from native plants. Each artist has their own specific knowledge of dying and desired palette of colours. The intimate knowledge of weaving methods and pigments used by the artist were shared with the artist by her mother and aunties.