The Bawaka weaving story

Told by Rita Wopurruwuy Gondarra

I learnt to weave from my Mum Reverend Gelung Gondarra Bukulatjpi when I was about 14 years old. This is when I learnt to sit and listen to Mum about the processes of weaving, like the plants used to make the dyes and the stories told through weaving.

When I weave, this is a place where I find meditation and peace – talking and listening to the land and the spirits. Giving me new experiences and new thoughts. A place to share my knowledge and stories spiritually.

When you weave you are learning about the journey and the story. Weaving is like telling the story from the start – before the beginning of time when our ancestors walked on this land and brought the law, order and structure to make everything meaningful.

Different types of weavings, patterns, paintings and colours all tell different stories. The dilly bag symbolises the womb – telling the story that women are holy and sacred, and we are the giver of life.

The weaving process started when the great spirit of the universe brought law before any human footprint and passed it on to the ancestral sisters from the djalkiri – these are the footprints, ancestral imprints on our country that are our spiritual foundations. The djalkiri is our library which we learn from.

I would like to share with you my knowledge and my story about becoming a woman when I first learnt the weaving process – the same process that was started by the elderly women thousands of years ago.

Rita Wopurruwuy Gondarra