Navigating Gija Country

Gija artists map country
in incandescent, unnameable
colours – scooped out of the earth,
scoured from stone,
blended, muddled and daubed
(charcoal, rust red, burnt orange,
ochre, olive, cream, muddy mauve,
pure white, honey yellow,
pale pink, black)
Gija country
(winkled out of soft rock
in an infinite palette of grainy pigments)…
beehive hills, sandy riverbanks,
creek beds,
boabs, cycads, emu eggs,
pods, blossom, grass and
clouds, star spiked skies,
crocodile holes, Woonggool
the serpent leaving
his trail
(white dots on black),
a line of chalk water, russet dirt –
unknown spaces – hung on white walls,
for us to traverse
as we navigate our way
into dreaming …

Anita Patel


Thank you to the Gija Artists of Western Australia, the Warmun Art Centre and Nancy Sever Gallery for bringing this astonishing country to Canberra

Anita Patel’s work has been published in: Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Backstory Journal, Not Very Quiet and Mascara Literary Review. Her poem ‘Women’s Talk’ won the ACT Writers Centre Poetry Prize in 2004. Her poetry was selected for Australian Book Review’s States of Poetry ACT, 2018. She was the guest editor for Issue 2 of Not Very Quiet.

© 2018