• Jarrah and Yaraan Bundle with their mother, Aunty Vicki Couzens (Jody Haines)Source: Jody Haines
The relationship between a mother and daughter tells a different story for everyone. For two strong women it's a story of reclamation, connection and responsibility.
Rachael Hocking

14 Mar 2019 - 5:06 AM  UPDATED 14 Mar 2019 - 5:52 AM

Boiled down to an English language which doesn't quite cut through, Yunggama means, to give and receive. It's a process Aunty Vicki Couzens has been involved in for most of her life. 

"It's so much of what our culture is about: that transferring of knowledge and continuing culture and stories across generations," she says.

"I didn't have a lot of elder women to instruct me in women's lore and to teach me because of ... the impacts of invasion where many of those knowledges have been suppressed, oppressed or left sleeping." 

Instead, Aunty Vicki sought out the knowledge she missed out on growing up, and now with the help of her two eldest daughters Jarrah and Yaraan Bundle, part of that wisdom is on display at the Footscray Community Art Centre in Melbourne. 

"The exhibition is talking about women's lore and women's business and the importance and significance of that," Aunty Vicki explains.

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On display are women's digging sticks set against projections that represent the Seven Sisters story: a songline which can be found all over the world. The exhibition also includes many possum cloaks, each telling different stories about the women's Gunditjmara/Keerray Wurrong country.

"We have rights to our country through our grandmother, our grandmothers, so there's strength there. It's just something that fills me with pride to say I'm Gunditjmara," Aunty Vicki says. 

Yaraan says she applied learnings from her mother for the Yunggama exhibition, stitching possum cloaks and weaving baskets.

"There's strength behind putting the designs onto a cloak: to have a canvass to tell that story, and it'll last for years, and then I'll hand that onto my daughter and she'll tell that story," Yaraan says. 

"It's really an important piece to bring back - it's celebrating women and their place in ceremony." 

Yaraan says learning from her mother has instilled in her the importance of carrying knowledge for future generations. 

"As a cultural woman I felt the responsibility at a very young age to support as many women and younger women like myself that are going through that cultural woman journey, and support them in their growth," she says. 

The Yunggama exhibition is on at Footscray Community Arts Centre until Saturday 16 March.