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Plant Power Sisterhood launch in the rainforest region

[supplied by Jenny Fraser]


Marcia Brooks, Jenny Fraser, Maria and Ellen van Neerven. Image: supplied

A new Anthology titled Plant Power Sisterhood, was launched at Kyogle Writers Festival under this years theme Close to Home?  Edited by Dr Jenny Fraser, whose old people come from neighbouring Migunberri Yugambeh Country, the compilation was ceremoniously presented in an evening multiartform event with local Gullibul Elder Aunty Marcia Brooks along with mother and daughter team Maria and Ellen van Neerven, who belong to the Mununjali people of the Scenic Rim.

The Plant Power Sisterhood anthology is a creative response from the matriarchy celebrating the plant life of Australia and the Pacific Islands, challenging readers to think critically about kinship to the natural world, toward restoring it to the original true splendour.  Publisher Akinoga Press, based in America, originally put out the publication in the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020.  ‘So much time and care and energy went into the production of this book and I’m so thrilled that people get to now enjoy the fruits of so many labors’ said publisher Mykel Zulauf.

The free community launch event was held at the Roxy Gallery with bush food cocktails.  Gullibul Traditional Owner Marcia Brooks screened a premiere of her collaborative documentary ‘Women Cant Burn’ by Pipic Media, Ellen van Neerven read their poem about Bunya, Maria van Neerven did a live reading of poetry by Yamatji contributor Charmaine Papertalk Green, and Hawaii was represented in the room at Kyogle by Phoenix Maimiti Valentine with a screening of her animated poetry reading video about Noni. 


Creative Director Paul Shields said ‘The Kyogle Writers Festival seeks to bring the best of contemporary Australian writing to our town, to explore the question ‘Close to Home?’ in this unique area, which incorporates the Traditional Lands of the Bundjalung.’

The Sisterhood is a collective of Indigenous Women Creatives making offerings from countries across the Pacific Rim: Australia, Hawaii, Guam, PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and Aotearoa New Zealand.


‘We are so honoured that we could have our first launch for the sisterhood at KWF in the rainforest area of the Bundjalung Nation, sharing creative energy by Indigenous Women from around the Pacific regions, with contributions from Nicole Williams, Charmaine Papertalk-Green, Gabi Briggs, Joycelin Leahy, Ahi Rands, Anahera Kingi, Sarah Taitano, Phoenix Maimiti Valentine, Veronica Cougan, 1AngryNative, Krishna Nahow and Ellen van Neerven,’ said editor Jenny Fraser.

Aboriginal woman writer Timmah Ball has provided a review in The Westerley, stating that the ‘Plant Power Sisterhood is a unique assemblage of art, poetry and text… Its timely publication provides respite and resolve amidst a global climate catastrophe and our own government’s passivity… fires and floods have ravaged… as we look on knowingly, still reeling from the devastation this continent endured through 2019/2020’s Black Summer. Weak political leadership and the nation’s capitalist drive obstruct solutions in a socio-political culture.’

The Plant Power Sisterhood insights are given by Indigenous Women Writers, Artists and Tree People from countries across the Australasia Pacific Regions, coming together in the name of Citizen Science, Creative Research and Traditional Knowledge. 


The work is published in an effort to be proactive about Matriarchal custodianship to offer arts-based entry points for community to engage in botany.


The Plant Power Sisterhood are custodians of life, land and culture maintaining practices of reciprocity with ancestral homelands that sustain the natural world, and caring commitment as the main value.


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[Jane Bardon, ABC]

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[Bridget Brennan, ABC]

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[supplied by HESTA]

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