When the 2020 bushfires ravaged the south coast of NSW, Nardaparli remained in her Wreck Bay community and watched as the mountains turned red. Many evacuated. Nardaparli saw more than just the fire. She saw the deep spirits of the mountains in the flurescent red glow from Gulaga (Dromedary) to Didthul (Pigeon House) mountain. She also saw spirits rising up from the ocean around her. Her Budawang Burning painting is an icon of 2020.
Nardaparli made these comments about her painting. "It's a true painting. It's what I and we as a people and all of the Yuin nation see." "There was fire everywhere you looked". "The women are the fire keepers. They are able to carry the spirit of the dolphins up into the sky and galaxy and they continue on in their journeys protecting all of mother nature's glory" "When Europeans first came to the Shoalhaven they were hungry and they went out in a rowboat and shot at the dolphins.. when our women heard this they picked up rocks and hit themselves and wailed and wailed.. " "When the fires were raging.. the spirits were showing their shapes and forms.. during the fires all my people were taking photographs showing the spirits they were coming out of the trees and everywhere.." "..they are too strong.. especially at sunrise and sunset.." "When we visited Uluru the old ladies said "why do you come all this way from Booderee and see these spirits and have this spiritual connection straight away.. its because we are in tune with our mother". "We looked down the coast and the black smoke and white smoke and flames.. .. it was something I have never experienced before in my life.. I hope my grandkids don't have to go through that.. but its going to get worse.. people are playing around with things they shouldn't be..." "We've been burning the right way for thousands of years.. we've always taken care of the land.. " "Didthul.. that's tear drop dreaming.. when she cries.. after there's been no rain for a long time.. she cries and fills up all the rock pools.. that's sacred water.. thats where we women go with our babies.. men's places are around too, but not on that mountain.. its tricky hey" "Didthul is shaped like a woman's breast.. she's related to the northern stories of the sisters.. I don't know how I know all this.. I have the ear and the passion to listen to the old people telling stories and when I am doing my artwork I can feel them guiding me.. and I am thinking I can't stop this painting.. I want to keep on going.." ".. all the stories of the sisters up north they are connected to our stories here.. Gullaga lake is water from the central desert.. thats why it has the best oysters in the world.. an elder from the Central Desert told me that.. she said that's a big story.."
Part of the proceeds of each painting are donated to Breast Cancer Research and a small contribution goes to help the ongoing work of the ISX. As noted above Nardaparli’s paintings are available as signed limited edition prints on 100 per cent cotton fine art papers. They are available in two sizes A2 40X62cm $250 and full size 60X90cm prints for $500. To order your print please clearly indicate which print and size and the number of prints you would like in an email to: Dr. Peter Botsman, Voluntary National Secretary, ISX at email@example.com with your order. An invoice will be sent to you and when it is paid the prints will be created and forwarded to you. After the invoice is paid we can usually turn around prints quite quickly (within a week depending on the time of year). Prints may be picked up directly from Arthead, Moss Vale, NSW or for an additional cost mailed in a tube to you throughout Australia or internationally. Framing is also available through Arthead, Moss Vale, NSW and a framed print can be mailed for a further additional cost. We would also welcome inquiries about acquiring a licence for digital copies of Nardaparli prints.
Vida's great great grandfather "King" Mickey Johnson
Vida's great great aunt Ellen Anderson
Biography:Vida “Nardaparli” Brown was born at Berry Hospital, one of thirteen children to her namesake Vida Brown I and George Brown. On her mother’s side Vida is related to Agnes and Jimmy Johnston and her great grandfather and great grandmother were the famed King Mickey and Queen Rosie of the Illawarra. Vida says her mother always talked about “Budawang” people. Vida lives and paints at Wreck Bay Aboriginal community. Her father George Brown was one of the Yuin leaders who halted a series of potentially disastrous environmental developments including the creation of a major naval base at Jervis Bay in the 1980s and the development of a nuclear power plant in the 1970s. George championed his people's right for decades and was one of the principal advocates for the Wreck Bay Land Rights legislation that transferred the Wreck Bay Mission to Aboriginal ownership and which returned 6312 hectares to Aboriginal ownership creating Booderee National Park and Booderee Botanic Gardens in 1995. Vida's brothers and sisters are actively involved in the self determination of the Wreck Bay community and are active participants in the Aboriginal Community Council. Most significantly George was a custodian of traditional stories of Jervis Bay. The Brown family's paternal links are to the Yuin people from Wallaga Lake to the Shoalhaven River. On Vida's mother's side she is related to the Illawarra, Gweagal and Bundjalong peoples. On her mothers side Vida is the great grand daughter of Rosie Burragalong-Davis and Mickey Johnson. They were known as King Mickey and Queen Rosie of the Illawarra in the 1890s - however Mickey Johnson was a Bundjalong man from the Clarence River area of northern New South Wales. Rosie was the daughter of Paddy Burragalong Davis known as the Chieftain of the Illawarra tribe and Biddy Giles who was a senior member of the Gweagal people of the Georges River and Botany Bay. Vida's great, great aunt Ellen Anderson (nee Burragalong-Davis) recounted many traditional stories in early compilations of South Coast Aboriginal language and stories. Ellen with her husband Hughy travelled the country in the 1890s from Maloga Mission on the Murray River to Kangaroo Valley where they tried to start an independent community to Kiama and the Georges River in Sydney.