"The Native fence is a woven piece created to encourage viewers to look at every single strand of native grass as the individual living flora that it is. Our native grasses grow in clumps like a big family, yet like our families each one is unique. In this piece there are three different types of grasses that I have cared for over a long period of time. These grasses are Barbed Wire, Top Scented and Black Spear. The 28 individual strands were the last to survive in a mound that once flourished in my garden. I think of these grasses as a tribute to the mound that sparked so many interesting and important conversations in my backyard. Although it's sad the mound came to an unforeseen end, this piece will live on and continue to create many more of those talks and hopefully do its part to encourage others to look after Country". [Delissa Walker, 2023]
- Native bamboo Neololeba atra
- Native grasses: Black Spear, Top Scented and Barbed Wire
- Black palm Normanbya normanbyi
115 x 147 x 5cm
The project carer in Cairns was Delissa Walker Ngadijina. (See her biography in the Bio tab above). Her native grass mound, which features her chosen grass Black Spear, was planted in her suburban backyard, closely integrated with all the other elements of her active family and creative life. The Interweaver sat on an adjacent bench, and formed part of a place of contemplation and rest.
Grasses Delissa planted are Black Spear, Barbed Wire and Scented Top - being all endemic and suited to her local Country/bioregion
In September 2022 Delissa's grass mound was planted in her garden, in a busy thoroughfare where family and friends could see it. It survived through burning drought of late 2022 and flooding rains of Xmas 2023 to become lush and green by Jan 2023 (four months after planting). Delissa has completed a public artwork with the mature grasses - a commission for a Carbon Dating touring exhibition (2024-6). In 2023 Delissa completed her artwork 'The Native Fence' - and told us the story of its creation. Video shot/edited by Josaphine Seale
At the outset of the project Delissa and the the project team (Keith Armstrong, Daniele constance and Donna Davis) spoke about the Carbon_Dating propject at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. This site of the project was supported by gallery partner NorthSite Contemporary Arts (with special thanks to director Ashleigh Campbell) and afunding from Cairns Regional Council RADF. Special thanks also to Dr. Alex Cheesman from JCU for growing the grasses from seed for Delissa. Seeds were supplied by Native Seeds Pty.
Delissa Walker Ngadijina is a Kuku Yalanji Master Weaver based in Cairns, Far North Queensland. She grew up in the Daintree rainforest with her mother and in Mosman with her grandmother. She comes from a very large culturally active family. Most of her weekends as a child were spent traditionally hunting and gathering food, swimming and basket weaving. During that time she learnt how to make dilly bags with her late grandmother Wilma Walker from a very young age. She has very fond memories of traveling with Nana and assisting with weaving demonstrations and classes. She was an inspiration to Delissa and a very famous weaver.
Delissa now teaches weaving locally, and has young daughters and a son who have also learnt to make baskets and/or gather materials for them in the Daintree.
Over the past decade Delissa's traditional and contemporary work has been sold into the collections of many national galleries around Australia. She also participates in exhibitions all year round. A highlight of her career was becoming a finalist in 2017 for the ’37th Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards'. (Delissa's profile adapted from this text).