ARAWARRA & CARARURAA collaboration between the Plant Sensibilia Machine, Jacob Morris and the plants and lands of the Dharawal and Dhurga Language Groups on whose land Bundanon and our project resides.

This video was created as part of The Plant Sensibilia Machine, a collaboration between Rebecca Mayo, Deidre Martin and Jacob Morris as part of Siteworks 2022 at Bundanon.

In this film Jacob Morris reads his poem Arawarra and Cararura. It is a poem about place and the stories that weave through and form the bedrock of Country. And it is a story about a man determined to protect Country and the majestic Cararura (Toona ciliata – Red Cedar) which used to grow abundantly up and down this coast.

The poem is screen printed with metal salts onto a length of linen. The cloth winds through the dyebath slowly revealing Jacob’s poem along with pixelated images of Cararura leaves. Heated in the dyebath is Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis). Jacob chose this plant to use as dye because it is a healing plant, used for smoking ceremonies, welcoming strangers to Country. A member of the sandalwood family, it is hemiparasitic via its roots. Reliant on other trees in the early stages of its life, until photosynthesis is established, the Cherry Ballart is a clear reminder of the connections and inter-dependencies between plants. This connection between all life, human and non-human is revealed in Jacob’s poem, which seeks to bring our attention to the little-known story of the man Arawarra.

The mass clearing of species such as Toona ciliata has inevitably changed the nature of climate on Country today.

Jacob Morris is a Gumea-Dharrawal Ngundah of the Yuin Murring from the Southeast Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Jacob’s great grandmother Lena Chapman was one of the last Dharrawal speakers from the South Coast. She kept language alive within her family. Warren Morris, Jacob’s Uncle and mentor handed down the responsibility of language to he and his cousin Joel Deaves. Jacob also teaches language and dance at Nowra East Public School.

The Plant Sensibilia Machine was part of The Tellus Art Project 2022, which was funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, and was a collaboration between UNSW Art and Design, the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens Herbarium, Bundanon and Open Humanities Press. It aims to re-value the plant collection of the Herbarium through the mediation of art.

The Plant Sensibilia Machine: Acacia longifolia
2022 – 23
stainless steel, PVC pipe, bicycle chain, Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis) leaves collected at Bundanon, water, linen, printed metal salts, installation view, Siteworks 2022: From a deep valley.