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Quandamooka Dilly Bag

My dear friend, Quandamooka artist Delvene Cockatoo Collins, invited me to see and photograph her great great grandmothers ‘dilly bag’ and purse at the local museum in Goompi, on Quandamooka Country (North Stradbroke Island.)

Both the basket and purse had been held in a private collection for decades and are now back ‘home’ on the island and on display.

Above left: Quandamooka artist Delvene Cockatoo Collins on the steps of the museum in Goompi  / Above right: Having a quiet moment observing her great great grandmothers ‘dilly bag’.

The basket and purse were made by Delvene’s mother’s mother’s father’s mother – her great great grandmother.

To have both pieces back on the island is in equal parts culturally significant to the local Quandamooka people and also emotionally significant, as the woven pieces connect the local people to their past and to their ancestors through the artistry and tradition of basket making.

Above left: Much of the local knowledge of basket making has been lost through the generations on the island / Above right: To be able to have the basket back ‘home’ on the island for all to see and most importantly learn from is a significant moment.

The knowledge of traditional Quandamooka basket making and particular loops of the weavings have been lost through the generations from settlement on the island.

To see the emotion on Delvene’s face, both sadness from losing the knowledge and joy to be able to see and learn from this handmade piece was compelling and so heartfelt.

Above left: A significant moment, Delvene feeling the energy of her ancestors through the tradition of basket making / Above right: Such a beautiful and intricate lidded basket.

Delvene carefully observed the way in which her great great grandmother would have made the basket, gently turning it over and feeling the energy of the past.

In awe of some of the most intricate woven details.

Delvene explained how her great great grandmother would have stripped the fibres from local native plants and then rolled the fibres between her hand and thigh.

Above left: The little purse would have been more of a decorative piece, rather than in daily use / Above right: So very precious in its form and weave.

Basket making played a vital role in the gathering, storage and preparation of food. Baskets would have been made to carry shellfish, vegetables and fruits.

It was such a privilege to be able to document this moment with Delvene.

If you would like to see more work of Delvene click here and here.

K x


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