East Arnhem Super Star, Siena Stubbs (pictured here with her big sister and Yirrkala Stars Mentor, Rosie), held her very first book signing as a published author in Yirrkala recently.
Our Birds – |ilimurru\gu W^yin Malanynha is a beautiful collection of Siena’s photographs of the birds native to her home in East Arnhem Land, with each bird introduced in Siena’s traditional language, Yolngu Matha, as well as English.
The images are accompanied by short stories that shine a light on the cultural significance of each bird. In Yolngu culture, everything is divided into two moieties – Yirritja and Dhuwa – as a result all things are classified, from a body of water to a specific type of tree or bird.
According to Siena, “all of the birds in Yolngu culture name themselves by the sound they make”.
At the launch, Siena signed more than 100 copies of her book and says she was very excited to be able to share it because it’s a project she’s been working on for years.
“I’d had no intention of publishing a book – and then suddenly there I was selling and signing books for all these people who wanted to read it!” Siena says.
When asked what she would say to encourage other Indigenous young women to pursue their dreams, Siena said she’d tell them to listen to and learn from the stories of their Elders.
“The knowledge we obtain from our Elders is amazing! It’s another way of looking at life and it’s so enlightening,” she says.
“What I learn from Mum, from my family, it’s so interesting. Aboriginal people are geniuses! We know the stars, we know maths, philosophy. We have to learn these things and we have to share them.”
Our Birds by Siena Stubbs is published by Magabala Books. You can purchase a copy here.