Sonja Carmichael & Elisa Jane Carmichael

Sonja Carmichael & Elisa Jane Carmichael – 'budjong dabiyil', 2020


Budjong dabiyil is a collaboration between Ngugi mother and daughter artists Sonja Carmichael and Elisa Jane ‘Leecee’ Carmichael. Meaning ‘mother water’ in Jandai language, Budjong dabiyil brings together language, material culture and symbolism of the sands and seas. The work expresses a connection between matrilineal ancestors and the life-giving waters of Quandamooka Country. Materials found on Country, such as discarded ghost nets, shells, fish scales as well as other natural and synthetic fibres, have been woven into the piece using traditional and contemporary interpretations of ancestral methods. To the left of the work is a looped and knotted gulayi (Quandamooka women’s bag) made from ungaire (sacred freshwater swamp reeds). Gulayi symbolises women’s experiences and is a connection to a long genealogy of knowledge and tradition. To the right of the work is a contemporary interpretation of a coolamon (water carrier), also woven using ungaire. 

Sonja Carmichael is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka people from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, Queensland). She works specifically in the medium of fibre basketry and woven sculpture and has revitalised traditional Quandamooka weaving techniques. Carmichael’s work is informed by her family’s deep cultural connections to the land and seas of Minjerribah. In her practice, she draws inspiration from the many stories connected to traditional weaving and explores contemporary materials and techniques – in particular, discarded ghost nets and fishing lines. In using these materials, she expresses her concerns about the preservation of the natural environment.

Elisa Jane (‘Leecee’) Carmichael, Sonja’s daughter, is a Ngugi woman belonging to the Quandamooka people of Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) and Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, Queensland). She is a multidisciplinary artist who works across painting, textiles and weaving, and honours her saltwater heritage through working with materials collected from Country. Her contemporary explorations of Quandamooka weaving are a modern and unique twist on her enduring cultural traditions.

Occupying Space

September 23 – November 4

Read about the exhibition.


Material: ungaire, talwapin, lomandra, raffia, ghost net, silk wire, shells, fish scales, wire, rope, recycled and synthetic fibre

Dimensions: approx. 65 x 485 x 10cm

1 piece in stock.

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