HEATHER WUNDJARA KOOWOOTHA
Djabuguy/Yidinji and Wik Mungkan
Born 1966, Yarrabah, Queensland
Lives and works in Cairns and Aurukun, Queensland
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, traditional ecological knowledge of plants and their uses vary depending on geographical location and natural environment. This knowledge is transferred from one generation to the next through oral traditions and cultural practices. Many plants are not only an important food source, but highly valued for their medicinal qualities. Some species are considered highly sacred, and the uses of such plants can be of a secret nature, particularly when incorporated into rituals and ceremonies.
Koowootha explores the ritual significance of local native flora based on their medicinal and cultural properties. Koowootha visually documents and describes various plants and their uses, incorporating hand-written text into her bold and colourful work. Her illustrations carry important knowledge associated with the medicinal and ritual uses of plants in birth, women’s business, marriage, death and other important ceremonies of the Yidinji and Wik Mungkan peoples