Evans River K 12 student Jennifer Wilkinson.
Evans River K 12 student Jennifer Wilkinson.

Book illustrator in the making

A DREAMTIME story of the creation of a river in East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory was the subject of a recent English project for Evans River Community School Year 9 student Jennifer Wilkinson.

“It was a story from my mum’s mum who came from the Umbakumba people who live on Groote Eylandt just east of Arnhem Land,” she said. “We had to do a children’s picture book for an English assignment and I decided to do some of her dreamtime stories.”

The quality of the art work in Jennifer’s book caught the eye of her teachers.

“They want to see if they can get it published,” Jennifer laughed humbly. “So that it can be produced for NAIDOC day.”

Deputy principal Penny Colley said it was an outstanding piece.

“Because of the cultural significance, she’s done a fantastic job to bring to life a story her mother told her,” she said. “And considering the number of hours she put into the project, Jennifer has done above and beyond what the class was asked to do.”

“In the holidays I went to my nan’s and she had an art book that helped with ideas for my project,” Jennifer said. “I had a lot of spare time so I worked on it then.”

The story tells of a serpent looking for food as a storm approaches.

A mother and daughter ask the serpent for shelter but he says no and they have to stay out in the storm.

The baby girl dies and the mother gets revenge by killing the snake and its body forms the Goomadeer River that flows out of the Koolatong River in East Arnhem Land.

With a great interest in art it is no surprise that 14-year old Jennifer wants to leave school and do something creative.

“I’d like to paint traditional paintings and sell them like my aunty does,” she said. “Or I’d like to be an art teacher.”



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