Bush Sumi (Living with Fire)

Jacqueline Gribbin


The north of Australia has always been subject to bush fires as part of its normal environment and Aboriginal people here have learnt to adapt and live within this environment, which influences their art making. Natural ochres and ash are part of this world.

As climate change intensifies extreme weather conditions, we see an ever- increasing number of fires, which are slowly depleting even the fire-adapted North Australian bushland, leaving the landscape a little sparser each year. Artist Jacqueline Gribbin has previously used ochres in mokuhanga. In this film she explores the bush with local artist Dennis McCarthy (Murrwurruwurr) to collect charcoal from recently burnt-out trees and to experiment with making and using bush sumi.