They say a picture tells a 1000 words… when I stop to sketch I look closer, I notice and appreciate so much more… and enhance memories later when I look at the sketches… and also it gives me a way to connect with others instead of through words. The people in Mapuru were so generous to have us (the CERES Global Group) in their home. It was a nice way to give back, and for them and me to meet. Kids asked me to draw things, people liked to see what I did and point out what I needed to include, and they were also happy to tell me words in Yolgnu to go with the images.
My visit to Mapuru was in some way, far too brief, but the effects will linger on my entire life. I was so blessed to sit with Rosyln’s mother (who was one of the founders of the weaving workshops) for some days, enjoy the sound of the birds together, the pace of our weaving, just breathing… We sat in the weaving shelter which Roslyn talked of as “the womb space”. And it was like that, a safe holding space, a nurturing space… the rhythm of weaving through the days so calming. It was contrasted by the outings to collect color and food and see some of the surrounds… a dip in the creek, a walk in the deep muddy mangroves, spotting buffalo, collecting firewood and colored roots, dancing with the women and kids were some of the highlights.
I also sat with Roslyn as my other teacher, as well as her extended family. She is such a central and powerful woman, and so generous with her knowledge and ideas. I have such huge respect for her and all the community, and the school teachers too. It was also such a pleasure to be with the CERES Global group, a bunch of wonderful women, led by Sas and Emma who were brilliant in their role.
Trace Balla works as an author and illustrator of children’s books and occasional songs, and she enjoys visiting schools and festivals to give workshops and talks. Her books Rivertime, Rockhoppi