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Margaret Rarru Garrawurra

La?arra / Howard Island and Yurrwi / Milingimbi, NT

"This is a Makassan dhomala (sail). Yol?u people were watching Makassan people weaving their dhomala over time ... then they started to make them. My father picked up the skill as well. He used to make them, Makassan dhomala.

I was watching my father making these dhomala. He was making them, and I was watching. I thought about how he made them, my father, and I started remembering. And now I'm making these."

About the Artist

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra was born in Galiwin�ku (Elcho Island). Today she lives on her mother�s Country of La?arra (Howard Island) and at Yurrwi/Milingimbi, both off the coast of Northeast Arnhem Land.

Rarru is a senior artist and master weaver at Milingimbi Art and Culture, and a respected Elder amongst the community. She speaks little English, but engages with the Balanda (European) world through her art practice, becoming well known for her 'Madonna bra� bathi (baskets) and mol mi??irr (black dillybags).

While the technique of immersion dyeing has been widely practised since the arrival of missionaries, the recipe for creating black dye from local plants has been refined by Rarru. She has become renowned for her black hues, from blue to copper blacks. Yol?u weavers respect Rarru's commitment to her practice and, whilst they may know the recipe and use small amounts of mol (black), the use of mol alone in a work is reserved for Rarru and those to whom she gives permission.

Rarru's art practice also includes painting miny�tji belonging to her with ochre on bark and ceremonial poles. At the 2007 Telstra NATSIAA, she won the Telstra Bark Painting Award for her work ?arra Body Paint Design.

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