Numbulwar Country. Image courtesy of Numbulwar Numburindi Arts.
Good Coffee Doing Good is a project-based initiative in which we partner with impact-focused enterprises both local and global and is fuelled by our Golden Rule Espresso Blend.
Through the sales of Golden Rule, we will be raising funds for some meaningful organisations and projects, donating $4 for each kilo sold across our retail and wholesale operations.
You can find out more about the inspiration behind the blend or shop the coffee!
We’re incredibly proud to announce our latest partnership is with Agency Projects - an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander not-for-profit organisation.
Agency Projects is a not-for-profit organisation that works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the country to identify, develop and sustain initiatives that promote, celebrate and support cultural practice. This allows Indigenous leadership to thrive, and ultimately feature strong participation and economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Agency was established in late 2019 in response to a need expressed by cultural leaders, which resonates with those who care deeply about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, art and Country.
They exist not only to establish meaningful new connections between Indigenous-led initiatives and social and ethical giving, but also to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture and people.
They do this through the facilitation of bespoke learning opportunities, exhibitions, events, publications, residencies and cultural experiences for audiences in Australia and abroad.
An example of their support and work with remote communities is the Caring for Country program - supporting Numbulwar Numburindi Arts in South-East Arnhem land to address the global environmental issue of ghost nets.
Built on self-determination, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts (NNA) is a collective of artists whose mission is to keep culture strong.
Numbulwar is located in South–East Arnhem Land on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Established in 2019, Numbulwar’s first Art Centre is 100 percent owned and controlled by the community. Born from the community’s desire to practice and engage with traditional culture, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts (NNA) is a space for artistic and cultural expression. Champions of fibre art, NNA artists have traditionally used naturally-dyed and locally harvested pandanus when creating their works. Increasingly, the artists have begun incorporating bright and bold ghost nets, abandoned fishing line and other marine debris retrieved from Numbulwar's shoreline.
Their Wulbung (baskets) and Yir (dillybags) fit as naturally in traditional applications as they do in contemporary, urban environments. Numbulwar sits on the Rose River and belongs to the Nunggayinbala clan, one of the Wubuy or Nunggubuyu speaking clans from the region. Ceremonial activities are still very important within the region and occur regularly.
Ghost nets are large scale trawling apparatus discarded from commercial fishing vessels, accounting for more than 40% of ocean plastics and taking 600 years to break down. Each year they are responsible for trapping and killing a large numbers of vulnerable marine animals, damaging coral reefs and devastating shorelines.
Ocean currents carry the abandoned fishing lines from all over the world into the Gulf of Carpentaria and onto Numbulwar’s shores where they most often affect two culturally significant animals for Numburindi people - turtles and dugongs.
“It kills the fish, it kills the dugong, it kills the turtle, the crab. The big ships just dump it, and what it do is just drown the marine life, even wreck the reefs!” - Lillian Joshua
Removing these polluters from the oceans and shores is a modern act of caring for Country for Numburindi people. The artists of Numbulwar Numburindi Arts, in partnership with the Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers, are innovatively tackling the issue through the retrieval, recycling and recreation of ghost nets into bold, bright and brilliant fibre art.
The weavers are continually pushing boundaries with their creative practice, combining found and traditional materials, and recently also incorporating and reusing discarded household items, which are reinvented into design objects.
Agency are supporting Numbulwar Numburindi Arts to continue their Caring for Country practices and raise awareness of the ghost net issue.
"Ghost nets account for about 40% of all ocean plastic, and take 600 years to break down. Removing these polluters from their oceans and shores is a modern act of caring for Country for Numburindi people.” NNA
"My son is a sea ranger. He picks the ghost nets up and brings them to the old ladies to use with their weaving, saving marine life, as they are dangerous for animals like turtles and seals.” Lillian Joshua
Lillian Joshua has spent most of her life at Numbulwar, where she lived first with her parents and then raised her own family of 4 children. Lillian is an artist and a weaver and often works with found materials collected by her son, who works as a ranger. Lillian calls the nets and shade cloth Marine Killers.
"...Because it kills the fish, it kills the dugong, it kills the turtle, the crab. The big ships just dump it, and what it do is just drown the marine life, even wreck the reefs!”
Lillian has learned her weaving practice from other women in her community. She uses traditional pandanus, but also incorporates the discarded ghost nets and shade cloth in her work. "But the old ladies I used to see, they liked to do weaving…. I started doing that now. Someone else's rubbish is someone else's treasure.”
Lillian describes her work and its connection to Country: “Blue represents the water, green represents the grass, the seaweed, yellow means the sand, red means the rock, black means the stump/stones. That’s what the meanings are when we use that ghost nets. We weave and it’s got a meaning. I always think about what my dad said to us - Look after the land, and the land will look after you. That’s what he said to us.”
Agency supports projects by First Nations artists, Art Centres and Ranger groups who are finding innovative solutions to the ghost net issue. This includes creating exhibitions, retail and collaborative opportunities for Numbulwar Numburindi Arts and celebrating Indigenous knowledge, wisdom and artistic practices.
Agency is committed to continuing their work and celebrating Numbulwar Numburindi Arts to support their practice of ghost net retrieval and weaving which plays a role in tackling the environmental issue while also producing unique cultural objects, strengthening connection to Country and creating sustainable economic opportunities for the artists.
Purchasing coffee from the Good Coffee Doing Good range will directly assist Agency to deliver this powerful initiative and others like it. Supporting Agency supports Indigenous-led programs like Caring for Country, and directly enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander capacity and empowerment, and increases opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, cultural leaders and creative practitioners to tell their own stories in their own voices.
Your donation will directly support Indigenous-led initiatives that:
You can contribute by purchasing our Golden Rule Espresso Blend. $4 from each kilo sold will be donated directly to Agency to support this powerful initiative by Numbulwar Numburindi Arts and others like it.
We would like to thank Agency and Numbulwar Numburindi Arts and for their assistance in writing this article and for sharing these images with us.
Padre Coffee acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continued connections to land, sea and community.
We pay our respect to Elders past, present and future, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.