Dabilbahnba – this is saltwater country
  • Sandra & Shara Delaney, dabilbahnba, 2017, synthetic polymer paint on concrete wall. Photo: courtesy of CREATIVEMOVE

This mural, located in Middle Street, Cleveland is a part of the 2017 Quandamooka Festival, and was an initiative of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) partnered by Creative Arts Redlands, Redland City Council to celebrate the culture, country and the people of Quandamooka. The Live Mural Project featuring Quandamooka artists Sandra Delaney and Shara Delaney, who were mentored by experienced large scale mural artists Deb Mostert and Matthew Newkirk. The mural entitled Dabilbahnba (‘place of saltwater’) is themed around the representations of Quandamooka people’s knowledge, teachings, and spirituality. It provides an opportunity to share and learn about the culture and language of Quandamooka people and to understand the significance of water to them.

Noonuccal, Ngugi, and Coobenpil/Goenpil peoples have a long and strong connection with the saltwater and freshwater lakes, swamps, and creeks of Quandamooka Country. These areas are central to traditional cultural beliefs and practices, and provide water, rich and abundant sources of food, and shelter. Quandamooka people are blessed to be part of these ecologically rich and cultural rich environments; they are part of our estate as goorijin tabilbahn—saltwater gooris.

This design depicts the journey of Kabul and Warrajamba who travelled through Quandamooka sea country—Quandamookala yarabinja. As the artists Sandra and Shara Delaney explain:

The three large circles represent our three clan groups being connected by Kabul (the carpet snake) on his journey through Quandamooka Country. These circles also portray the spiritual and cultural connection between Minjerribah, Mulgumpin, the bay islands and the mainland. The red circles depict the Dreaming story of Warrajamba, the mermaid whose blood was spilt on country to create a red sand hill and whose spirit inhabits the land and seascape. The blue elements incorporate the significance of the mangroves to yarabinja—sea country.

The mural also highlights the interrelatedness of all things in the Dreaming creation period, and the artists have been influenced by the journeys of the ancestral pathways through land and sea that form part of who they are.