Galijan Sylvia Marrgawaidj is a fibre artist, specialising in woven mats and burlupurr (dilly bags). She is a Burrarra Martay speaker from Ji-Mardi homeland, located near the mouth of the Blyth River in Arnhem Land. She grew up at Ji-Mardi and moved to Maningrida community after the birth of her four children. Marrgawaidj learned to weave from her mother Bulanyjan Topsy Wulambuma and her grandmother Belinyjan Minnie Walambuma. Today she works alongside her sisters, Jennifer Prudence, Margaret Wulambuma and Lorna Jin-gubarrangunyja. Marrgawaidj works with pandanus (Pandanus spiralis) which she dyes with natural pigments from roots and leaves collected on her country. She achieves a broad range of orange, yellow, red and brown hues from boiling the stripped pandanus fibres for different lengths of time and with varying quantities of the red bulb of Haemadorum breviculae grass and the bright orange roots of the Pognolobus reticulatus bush. She also creates grey from the leaves of the quinine bush, Petalostigma pubescens. Today mats are an important form of artistic expression for artists from the Maningrida region, however in the past they were functional objects used for sitting and sleeping on.
2020 RESILIENCE: The power of the past today - Maningrida, Aboriginal Signature Estrangin Fine Art, Brussels, BELGUIM