ABOUT THE ARTIST - JESSIE BONSON
Jessie works in the ABS’ Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics based in Darwin and is an active member of the Youmpla Network (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee network). Jessie’s artwork featured in this document is titled: “Statistics through Art”. Jessie explains:
“THE BURSTING FLOWERS”
The centre of the flower represents the ABS offices across the various States and Territories.
The flowers are interconnected, we are all linked together and a part of this culture.
The flower’s pollen, the surrounding and extending dots, represents the ABS reaching out to communities, and sharing its information for greater outcomes.
The line work identifies the different currents and paths that pull the water through its channels. Demonstrating that although we may know the tidal movements and ocean channels, you can't predict what change will happen and being fluid and responsive to the change is important.
It is representative of my Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Jessie Bonson is a descendant (great-great grand-daughter) of the late Mrs Dolly Bonson, a Jawoyn woman from the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory. Dolly was also known as Bett Bett in the book by Mrs Aeneas Gunn, ‘Little Black Princess’.
Jessie is the great grand-daughter of Patimah (Patricia) Bonson (nee Ah Mat) who was born on Badu in the Torres Strait Islands.
Jessie is also the great grand-daughter of Joanna (Lulu) Villaflor, nee Roe. The Roe family is an extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family with ties across the Top End, from Broome in WA to the Torres Straight Islands (Darney, Thursday and Badu Islands) in North Queensland. Jessie’s great grandfather’s (Gregory Villaflor) mother was also born to a North Queensland Aboriginal woman on the banks of the Batavia River.
“I learnt that in our culture, there’s a connection between our people and families; a kinship that you instantly feel between other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples you meet. You can’t describe it in English, it can’t be translated, and I’m trying to capture those ties in my images.”
“The images I paint and draw are also inspired by those that I have met in my life, growing up around Darwin, through my Auntie’s Aboriginal art gallery. This has allowed me to be inspired by artists across Australia, I was nick-named ‘the flower girl’ by Melbourne based artist Clinton Nain.” – Jessie Bonson