Published by on


“This painting is about the different types of seafood that are seasonal to eat at Bidyadanga. During the raining clouds season we are allowed to hunt for turtles, fish and stingrays. The women gather the shells, mussels and oysters and we can eat them. We gather food that is in season and leave the rest for our future. Our knowledge of how to hunt and gather comes from our elders, and we learnt from the Karajarri people.

The old Karajarri… sing out to the dolphins to bring in the fish. When we go out fishing, we see the dolphins in the water push fish to the shore. The dolphin symbolizes our ancestors and we believe that when we die our family turn into dolphins, and it is their spirit which brings the fish to us.”

– Colleen Jadai 

Bidyadanga, Colleen’s ngurra (home Country, camp) is a community located on the Kimberley coast in Western Australia, where the Great Sandy Desert meets the sea. The word Bidyadanga is derived from pijarta/ bidyada (emu watering hole). Unlike the Martu, Colleen’s ancestors spent much time near the ocean. Common motifs depicted in this painting relate specifically to this landscape, including fish, stingrays and shells.

Name: Colleen Jadai

Community: Bidyadanga


Coleen was born up North in Broom and grew up in la Grange mission, which later became the community now know as Bidyadanga on Karajarri Country. She paints salt water country and dream time stories, all the old stories that the old people taught her.

"I paint these stories about gathering and hunting in saltwater Country; String rays, turtles, fish. Bidyadanga that's my home, i feel free camping and going out bush, swimming, gathering oysters, mud-worms and hermit crabs. My grandmother was a Karajarri woman she taught me and other old people too. In Bidyadanga the old people would sing out to the dolphins and the dolphins would bring the fish in for everyone." 

© the artist / art centre