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Featured Story

Ep 5. Songlines of the Future aka ‘Knowledge Papers’ with Artist Bibi Barba

by Celia Cavanagh and Louise Denver | TheBeats

Show notes

A podcast with Artist Bibi Barba, a saltwater woman, a First Nation’s elder, and cultural warrior.

In a first for NSW schools, Bibi is creating murals of local dreaming and totems with the kids. She calls the striking murals, ‘Knowledge Papers’. They connect the schoolchildren to country and nature. And together they share stories that are beautiful to listen to.

Internationally renowned now as an artist, Bibi shares her own story of her Grandmother from the Darrambul people in Queensland. Her name. Lulu-gigi – or waterlily with green frog as a totem and the snake.

Her grandfather, from present day Byron Bay, tells how his ancestors watched Captain Cook’s Endeavour for a long time – thinking of him as a pelican.

The linking totem that joins the seaboard of her grandfather’s country, from Byron to the Gulaga Mountain or Mother Mountain, is Galwa – the whale.

As Bibi tells us of her growing and learning, she looks to a future where artists, elders, teachers and school children

Think: that they can learn about ancient knowledge
Feel: that they belong to culture and so connect to country, and
Do by participating in Aboriginal communities. They can go to dances and/or festivals to celebrate and treasure the oldest continuous living culture on Earth. And start by taking part in yarn circles.

Bibi is working with Mel Tyas link to Eat Dirt, to develop a curriculum so all 19 NSW schools that have asked to be part of the program can be.

Bibi, many thanks for inspiring us at with your awesome art and the belief that we can and must continue to do more, learn more and care more.

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