NGALIYA DABILBAN CAPEM NGALIYA JARA
SANDRA DELANEY IS A PROUD QUANDAMOOKA WOMAN AND ARTIST. SHE WAS BEHIND THE FIRST SPEECH PERFORMED IN ABORIGINAL LANGUAGE AT BRISBANE’S PARLIAMENT HOUSE AND CONTINUES TO WORK TO SHARE HER CULTURE THROUGH ART AND STORYTELLING.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF SANDRA?
Sandra Delaney – Noonuccal/Coobenpil/ Goenpul woman from Quandamooka Country. I am an artist and also the Chairperson of Saltwater Murris Quandamooka. I have been passionate about sharing Quandamooka culture through art and storytelling. I am a community language consultant and my Aboriginal language is Jandai. I have been working actively for many years to share this knowledge and revitalise Jandai for the community, in particular the youth.
WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY BASED?
Dunwich, Minjerribah (Queensland, Australia).
WHAT ARE THE CULTURAL TRADITION/S BEHIND YOUR ART?
Quandamooka people are saltwater people. I am a traditional owner who has bloodline connections to North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Island, the bay island and the mainland opposite.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START WORKING WITH THE MATERIALS?
I started doing sewing and art and craft from high school and learnt ceramics in the 1970s and have been researching Quandamooka histories since I was a child. My painting and art stems from this knowledge. My family come from a long line of artisans: my mother was a seamstress and has been involved in art and crafts and painting since she was a young girl, as well as my sisters.
DO YOU SOURCE THE MATERIALS FROM STRADBROKE ISLAND AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TO WORK WITH?
It all depends on what I am doing. For example, I have just finished a series of ochre dyed silk scarves featuring dilly bags scarves which were a major source of craft for Quandamooka grannies.
WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR CREATIVE INSPIRATION FROM?
My Elders, my ancestors, the natural environment and the stories that have been passed down. From our past and the legacy left by our Elders, the old people, we are inheritors to understandings and to insights into life and the nature of things. We gain knowledge and wisdom from the Elders to guide and mentor us in the conduct of our business. As an artist, I sought to find the interconnectedness among things to gain greater understanding.
IT MUST FEEL GREAT WHEN SOMEONE FALLS IN LOVE WITH ONE OF YOUR PIECES. WHAT’S A FAVOURITE COMMENT YOU’VE RECEIVED?
Love the pendants. Your book featuring Quandamooka Dreaming stories and the art is so beautiful… it’s amazing.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT WE PRESERVE INDIGENOUS CULTURE?
Ngaliya dabilban capem ngaliya jara – our water our country.
Artwork by Sandra Delaney